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University of California, San Diego 
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14, Dean's Yard, S.W. 



The right of translation and reprodwtion is reserved. 

*^* In the later copies of this edition, a few mistakes which occurred 
in the earlier copies have been corrected, and some additions have been 
made. Of these, by far the most important is the record which 
appears on pp. Ixxxi-iv of this Volume. 


A LARGE part of the material used in this book was sent to the 
authors as representatives of the Society for Psychical Research ; 
and the book is published with the sanction of the Council of that 

The division of authorship has been as follows. As regards the 
writing and the views expressed, — Mr. Myers is solely responsible for 
the Introduction, and for the " Note on a Suggested Mode of 
Psychical Interaction," which immediately precedes the Supplement ; 
and Mr. Gurney is solely responsible for the remainder of the book. 
But the most difficult and important part of the undertaking — the 
collection, examination, and appraisal of evidence — has been a joint 
labour, of which Mr. Podmore has borne so considerable a share that 
his name could not have been omitted from the title-page. 

In the free discussion and criticism which has accompanied the 
progress of the work, we have enjoyed the constant advice and 
assistance of Professor and Mrs. Sidgwick, to each of whom we owe 
more than can be expressed by any conventional phrases of 
obligation. Whatever errors of judgment or flaws in argument may 
remain, such blemishes are certainly fewer than they would have 
been but for this watchful and ever-ready help. Professor and Mrs. 
Sidgwick have also devoted some time and trouble, during vacations, 


to the practical work of interviewing informants and obtaining their 
personal testimony. 

In the acknowledgment of our debts, special mention is due to 
Professor W. F. Barrett. He was to a great extent the pioneer of 
the movement which it is hoped that this book may carry forward ; 
and the extent of his services in relation, especially, to the subject 
of experimental Thought-transference will sufficiently appear in the 
sequel. Mr. Malcolm Guthrie, Professor Oliver J. Lodge, and M. 
Charles Richet have been most welcome allies in the same branch of 
the work. Professor Barrett and M. Richet have also supplied several 
of the non-experimental cases in our collection. Mr. F. Y. Edgeworth 
has rendered valuable assistance in points relating to the theory of 
probabilities, a subject on which he is a recognised authority. Among 
members of our own Society, our warmest thanks are due to Miss 
Porter, for her well-directed, patient, and energetic assistance in every 
department of the work ; Mr. C. C. Massey has given us the benefit 
of his counsel ; and Mrs. Walwyn, Mr. Hensleigh Wedgwood, the 
Rev. A. T. Fryer, of Clerkenwell, the Rev. J. A. Macdonald, 
of Rhyl, and Mr. Richard Hodgson, have aided us greatly in 
the collection of evidence. Many other helpers, in this and other 
countries, we must be content to include in a general expression of 

Further records of experience will be most welcome, and should 
be sent to the subjoined address. 

IJ^, Dean's Yard, S. W. 
June, 1886, 



Professor Balfour Stewart, F.R.S. 


The Right Hon, Arthur J. Balfour, M.P. 

Professor W. F. Barrett, F.R.S.E. 

The Right Rev. the Bishop of Carlisle. 

John R. Hollond, M.A. 

Richard H. Hutton, M.A., LL.D. 

The Hon. Roden Noel. 

Lord Rayleigh, M.A., F.R.S. 

The Right Rev. the Bishop of Ripon. 

Professor Henry Sidgwick, Lit. D., D.C.L. 

W. H. Stone, M.B. 

Hensleigh Wedgwood, M.A. 


J. C. Adams, M.A., F.R.S. 

William Crookes, F.R.S. 

The Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone, M.P. 

John Ruskin, LL.D., D.C.L. 

Lord Tennyson. 

Alfred Russel Wallace, F.R.G.S. 

G F. Watts, R.A. 



H. Beaunis, Professeur de Physiologie a la Faculte de M^decine de Nancy. 
Dr. Bernheim, Professeur a la Faculty de Mddecine de Nancy. 
Henry P. Bowditch, M.A., M.D., Professor of Physiology, Harvard 
University, U.S.A. 

Theodore Bruhns, Simferopol, Russia. 

Nicholas M. Butler, M.A., Ph.D., Acting Professor of Philosophy, 

Ethics, and Psychology, Columbia College, New York, U.S.A. 
A. DoBROSLjiviN, M.D., Professor of Hygiene in the Imperial Academy 

of Medicine, St. Petersburg. 
The Chevalier Sebastiano Fenzi, Florence. 
Dr. C. Fere, Hopital de la Salpetriere, Paris. 
George S. Fullerton, M.A., B.D., Adjunct Professor of Philosophy, 

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, U.S.A. 
Grenville Stanley Hall, M.A., Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and 

Psedagogics, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, U.S.A. 
Dr. Eduard von Hartmann, Berlin. 

William JAMES,M.D.,Professor of Philosophy, Harvard University, U.S. A. 
Pierre Janet, Professeur agre'ge de Philosophic au Lycee du Havre. 
MahIdeva Vishnu KIne, B.A., Bombay. 
P. KovALEVSKY, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry in the University of 

Dr. a. a. Liebeault, Nancy. 

Jules Liegeois, Professeur a la Faculte de Droit de Nancy. 
Edward C. Pickering, M.A., S.B., Phillips Professor of Astronomy, and 

Director of the Observatory, Harvard University, U.S.A. 
Th. Ribot, Paris. 

Dr. Charles Richet, Professeur agregd a la Faculte de Me'decine de 

H. Taine, Paris. 

Dr. N. Wagner, Professor of Zoology in the Imperial University, St. 

The Rev. R. Whittingham, Pikesville, Maryland, U.S.A. 


J. C. Adams, M.A., F.R.S., Lowndean Professor of Astronomy, 

W. F. Barrett, F.R.S.E., Professor of Physics, Royal College of Science, 

Walter H. Coffin. 
Edmund Gurney, M.A. 
Richard Hodgson, M.A. 
Oliver J. Lodge, D. Sc, Professor of Physics, University College, 



A. Macalister, M.D., F.R.S., Professor of Anatomy, Cambridge 

Frederic W. H. Myers, M.A. 

Frank Podmore, M.A. 

Lord Rayleigii, M.A., F.R.S. 

C. Lockhart Robertson, M.D. 

E. Dawson Rogers. 

Henry Sidqwick, Lit. D., D.C.L., Knightbridge Professor of Moral 

Philosophy, Cambridge. 
Henry A. Smith, M.A. 
J. Herbert Stack. 
Balfour Stewart, F.R.S., Professor of Physics, The Owens 

College, Manchester. 
J. J. Thomson, M.A., Professor of Experimental Physics, 

. Cambridge. 
James Venn, D.Sc, F.R.S. 
Hensleigh Wedgwood, M.A. 

Henry A. Smith, 1, New Square, Lincoln's Inn, W.C. 

Edmund Gurney, 14, Dean's Yard, Westminster, S.W. 

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§ 1. The title of this book embraces all transmissions of thought and 
feeling from one person to another, by other means than through the 
recognised channels of sense ; and among these cases we shall include 
apparitions xxxv-xxxvi 

§ 2. We conceive that the problems here attacked lie in the main 
track of science ....... . • xxxvi 

§ 3. The Society for Psychical Research merely aims at the free and 
exact discussion of the one remaining group of subjects to which such 
discussion is still refused. Reasons for such refusal . . xxxvi- xxxix 

§ 4. Reasons, on the other hand, for the prosecution of our inquiries 
may be drawn from the present condition of several contiguous studies. 
Reasons drawn from the advance of biology . . . xxxix-xli 

§ 5. Specimens of problems which biology suggests, and on which 
inquiries like ours may ultimately throw light. Wundt's view of the 
origination of psychical energy ...... xli-xlii 

§ 6. The problems of hypnotism ...... xlii-xliii 

§ 7. Hope of aid from the progress of "psycho-physical" 
inquiries ........... xliii-xliv 

§ 8. Reasons for psychical research drawn from the lacunce of 
anthropology xliv-xlv 

§ 9. Reasons drawn from the study of history, and especially of the 
comparative history of I'eligions. Instance from the S. P. R.'s investigation 
of so-called " Theosophy " xlvi-xlviii 

§ 10. In considering the relation of our studies to religion generally, 
we observe that, since they oblige us to conceive the psychical 
element in man as having relations which cannot be expressed in terms 


of matter, a possibility is suggested of obtaining scientific evidence of a 
supersensory relation between man's mind and a mind or minds above 
his own xlviii-li 

§ 11. While, on the other hand, if our evidence to recent supernormal 
occurrences be discredited, a retrospective improbability will be thrown on 
much of the content of religious tradition .... li~liv 

§ 12. Furtliermore, in the region of ethical and aesthetic emotion, 
telepathy indicates a possible scientific basis for much to which men 
now cling without definite justification .... liv-lvii 

13. Investigations such as ours are important, moreover, for the 
purpose of checking error and fraud, as well as of eliciting truth Ivii-lix 


§ 14. Place of the present book in the field of psychical research. 
Indications of experimental thought-transference in the normal state. 
1876-1882 Ix 

§ 15. Foundation of the Society for Psychical Research, 1882. 
Telepathy selected as our first subject for detailed treatment on account of 
the mass of evidence for it received by us ..... Ixi 

§ 16. There is also a theoretic fitness in treating of the direct 
action of mind upon mind before dealing with other supernormal 
phenomena ......•••• Ixn-lxiii 

§ 17. Reasons for classing apparitions occurring about the moment of 
death as phantoms of the living, rather than of the dead . . Ixiii-lxv 

§ 18. This book, then, claims to show (1) that experimental telepathy 
exists, and (2) that apparitions at death, &.C., are a result of something 
beyond chance ; whence it follows (3) that these experimental and these 
spontaneous cases of the action of mind on mind are in some way 
allied lxv-lx\di 

§ 1 8. As to the nature and degree of this alliance different views may 
be taken, and in a " Note on a Suggested Mode of Psychical Interaction," 
in Vol. II., a theory somewhat different from Mr. Gurney's is set 
forth Ixvii-lxix 

§ 20. This book, however, consists much more largely of evidence 
than of theories. This evidence has been almost entirely collected by 
ourselves ..... .... Ixix-lxx 


§ 21. Inquiries like these, thougli they may appear at first to degrade 
great truths or solemn conceptions, are likely to end by exalting and 
affirming them ......... Ixx-lxxi 

Additions and Corrections ..... Ixxiii-lxxxiv 


Preliminary Remarks : Grounds op Caution. 

§ 1. The great test of scientific achievement is often held to be the 
power to predict natural phenomena ; but the test, though an authoritative 
one in the sciences of inorganic nature, has but a limited application to 
the sciences that deal with life, and especially to the department of 
mental phenomena . . . . . . . . . 1-3 

§ 2. In dealing with the implications of life and tlie developments 
of human faculty, caution needs to be exercised in two directions. The 
scientist is in danger of forgetting the unstable and unmechanical nature 
of the material, and of closing the door too dogmatically on phenomena 
whose relations with established knowledge he cannot trace ; while others 
take advantage of the fact that the limits of possibility cannot here be 
scientifically stated, to gratify an uncritical taste for marvels, and to 
invest their own hasty assumptions with the dignity of laws . 3-5 

§ 3. This state of things subjects the study of " psychical " phenomena 
to peculiar disadvantages, and imposes on the student peculiar 
obligations ........... 5-6 

§ 4. And this should be well recognised by those who advance a 
conception so new to psychological science as the central conception of 
this book — to wit. Telepathy, or the ability of one mind to impress or to he 
impressed hy another mind othertvise thari through the recognised channels 
of sense. (Of the two persons concerned, the one whose mind imjyresses 
the other will be called the agent, and the one whose mind is impressed 
the percipient) .......... 6-7 

§ 5. Telepathy will be here studied chiefly as a system of /acts, 
theoretical discussion being subordinated to the presentation of evidence. 
The evidence will be of two sorts — sjwntaneous occurrences, and the 
results of direct exjoeriment ; which latter will have to be carefully 
distinguished from spurious " thought-reading " exhibitions . 7-9 



The Experimental Basis : Thought-Transference. 

^5 1. The term tliought-^ran.s/erence has been adopted in preference to 
thought-7'eading, the latter term (1) having become identified with exhi- 
bitions of muscle-reading, and (2) suggesting a power of reading a person's 
thoughts against his will ....... 10-11 

§ 2. Tlie phenomena of thought-transference first attracted the atten- 
tion of competent witnesses in connection with " mesmerism," and were 
regarded as one of the peculiarities of the mesmeric rapport ; which was 
most prejudicial to their chance of scientific acceptance . . 11-13 

§ 3. Hints of thought-transference between persons in a normal state 
were obtained by Professor Barrett in 1876 ; and just at that time the 
attention of others had been attracted to certain phenomena of the 
" willing-game," which were not easily explicable (as almost all the so- 
called " willing " and " thought-reading " exhibitions are) by unconscious 
muscular guidance. But the issue could never be definitely decided by 
cases where the two persons concerned were in any sort of contact 13-17 

§ 4. And even where contact is excluded, other possibilities of 
unconscious guidance must be taken into account ; as also must the 
possibility of conscious collusion. Anyone who is unable to obtain con- 
viction as to the bona fides of experiments by himself acting as agent or 
percipient (and so being himself one of the persons who would have to take 
part in the trick, if trick it were), may fairly demand that the responsi- 
bility for the results shall be spread over a considerable group of persons 
— a group so large that he shall find it impossible to extend to all of them 
the hypothesis of deceit (or of such imbecility as would take the place of 
deceit) which he might apply to a smaller number . . . 17-20 

§ 5. Experiments with the Creery family ; earlier trials . 21-22 

More conclusive experiments, in which knowledge of what was to 
be transferred (usually the idea of a particular card, name, or number) 
was confined to the members of the investigating committee who acted as 
agents ; with a table of results, and an estimate of probabilities 22-26 

In many cases reckoned as failures there was a degree of approximate 
success which was veiy significant ...... 27-28 

The form of the impression in the percipient's mind seems to have 
been sometimes visual and sometimes auditory .... 28-29 

§ 6. Reasons why these experiments were not accessible to a larger 


number of observers ; the chief reason being tlie gradual decline of the 
percipient faculty ......... 29-31 

§ 7. In a course of experiments of the same sort conducted by M. 
Charles Richet, in France, the would-be percipients were apparently not 
persons of any special susceptibility ; but a sufficient number of trials 
were made for the excess of the total of successes over the total most 
probable if chance alone acted to be decidedly striking . . 31-33 

The pursuit of this line of inquiry on a large scale in England 
has produced results which involve a practical certainty that some cause 
other than chance has acted ....... 33-35 

§ 8. Experiments in the reproduction of diagrams and rough draw- 
ings. In a long series conducted by Mr. Malcolm Guthrie, two percipients 
and a considerable number of agents were employed . . 35-38 

Specimens of the results ....... 39-48 

§ 9. Professor Oliver J. Lodge's experiments with Mr. Guthrie's 
" subjects," and his remarks thereon ..... 49-51 

§ 10. Experiments in the transference of elementary sensations — 
tastes, smells, and pains . . . . . . . . 51-58 

§ 11. A different department of experiment is that where the trans- 
ference does not take effect in the percipient's consciousness, but is 
exhibited in his motor system, either automatically or semi-automatically. 
Experiments in the inhibition of utterance .... 58-62 

§ 12. The most conclusive cases of transference of ideas which, never- 
theless, do not affect the percipient's consciousness are those where the idea 
is reproduced by the percipient in writing, without his being aware of 
what he has written. Details of a long series of trials carried out by the 
Rev. P. H. and Mrs. Newnham 62-69 

The intelligence which acted on the percipient's side in these experi- 
ments was in a sense an unconscioics intelligence — a term which needs 
careful definition ......... 69-<0 

§ 13. M. Richet has introduced an ingenious method for utilising what 
he calls " mediumship " — i.e., the liability to exhibit intelligent movements 
in which consciousness and will take no part — for purposes of telepathic 
experiment. By this method it has been clearly shown that a word on 
which the agent concentrates his attention may be unconsciously repro- 
duced by the percipient ........ 71-77 

And even that a word which has only an unconscious place in the 
agent's mind may be similarly transferred .... 77-79 


These phenomena seem to involve a certain impulsive quality in the 
transference .......... 79-80 

§ 14. Apart from serious and systematic investigation, interesting 
results are sometimes obtained in a more casual way, of which some 
specimens are given. It is much to be wished that more persons would 
make experiments, under conditions which preclude the possibility of 
unconscious guidance. At present we are greatly in the dark as to the 
proportion of people in whom the specific faculty exists . . 81-85 


The Transition from Experimental to Spontaneous Telepathy. 
§ 1. There is a certain class of cases in which, though they are experiments 
on the agent's part, and involve his conscious concentration of mind with 
a view to the result, the percipient is not consciously or voluntarily a party 
to the experiment. Such cases may be called transitional. In them the 
distance between the two persons concerned is often considerable 86-87 

§ 2. Spurious examples of the sort are often adduced ; and especially 
in connection with mesmerism, results are often attributed to the 
operator's tvill, which are really due to some previous command or sugges- 
tion. Still, examples are not lacking of the induction of the hypnotic 
trance in a " subject " at a distance, by the deliberate exercise of 
volition 87-89 

§ 3. Illustrations of the induction or inhibition of definite actio7is by the 
agent's volition, directed towards a person who is unaware of his 
intent 89-91 

The relation of the toill to telepathic experiments is liable to be mis- 
understood. The idea, which we encounter in romances, that one person 
may acquire and exercise at a distance a dangerous dominance over 
another's actions, seems quite unsupported by evidence. An extreme 
example of what may really occur is given .... 92-94 

§ 4. Illustrations of the induction of definite ideas by the agent's 
volition 94-96 

§ 5. The transference of an idea, deliberately fixed on by the agent, to 
an unprepared percipient at a distance, would be hard to establish, since 
ideas whose origin escapes us are so constantly suggesting themselves 
spontaneously. Still, telepathic action may possibly extend considerably 
beyond the well-marked cases on which the proof of it must depend 96-97 


§ 6. Illustrations of the induction of sensations by the agent's 
volition ,......••• 97-99 

§ 7. And especially of sensations of sight . . . 99-102 

§ 8. The best-attested examples being hallucinations representing the 
figure of the agent himself ....... 102-110 

§ 9. Such cases present a marked departure from the ordinary type of 
experimental thought-transference, inasmuch as what the percipient per- 
ceives (the agent's form) is not the reproduction of that with which the 
agent's mind has been occupied ; and this seems to preclude any simple 
physical conception of the transference, as due to " brain- waves," sympa- 
thetic vibrations, &c. A similar difficulty meets us later in most of the 
spontaneous cases ; and the rapprochement of experimental and spontaneous 
telepathy must be understood to be limited to their psychical aspect — a 
limitation which can be easily defended .... 110-113 


General Criticism of the Evidence for Spontaneous Telepathy. 
§ 1. When we pass to spontaneous exhibitions of telepathy, the nature 
of the evidence changes ; for the events are described by persons who played 
their part in them unawai-es, without any idea that they were matter for 
scientific observation. The method of inquiry will now have to be the 
historical method, and will involve difficult questions as to the judgment 
of human testimony, and a complex estimate of probabilities. 114-115 

§ 2. The most general objection to evidence for phenomena transcend- 
ing the recognised scope of science is that, in a thickly populated world 
where mal-observation and exaggeration are easy and common, there is 
(within certain limits) no marvel for which evidence of a sort may not be 
obtained. This objection is often enforced by reference to the superstition 
of witchcraft, which in quite modern times was supported by a large array 
of contemporary evidence ....... 115-116 

But when this instance is carefully examined, we find (1) that the 
direct testimony came exclusively from the uneducated class ; and (2) that, 
owing to the ignorance which, in the witch-epoch, was universal as to the 
psychology of various abnormal and morbid states, the hypothesis of 
unconscious self-deception on the part of the witnesses was never allowed 

for 116-117 



Our present knowledge of hypnotism, hysteria, and hystero-epilepsy, 
enables us to account for many of the phenomena attributed to demonic 
possession, as neither fact nor fraud, but as bond fide hallucinations 117-118 

While for the more bizarre and incredible marvels there is absolutely 
no direct, first-hand, independent testimony . . . . 118 

The better-attested cases are just those which, if genuine, might be 
explained as telepathic ; but the evidence for them is not strong enough to 
support any definite conclusion . . . . . . 119 

§ 3. The evidence for telepathy in the present work presents a complete 
contrast to that which has supported the belief in magical occurrences. 
It comes for the most part from educated persons, who were not predisposed 
to admit the reality of the phenomena ; while the phenomena them- 
selves are not strongly associated with any prevalent beliefs or habits of 
thought, differing in this respect, e.g., from alleged apparitions of the dead. 
Still we must not, on such grounds as these, assume that the evidence is 
trustworthy 120-122 

§ 4. The errors which may affect it are of various sorts. Error of 
observation may result in a mistake of identity. Thus a stranger in the 
street may be mistaken for a friend, who turns out to have died at that 
time, and whose phantasm is therefore asserted to have appeared. But it 
is only to a very small minority of the cases which follow that such a 
hypothesis could possibly be applied . . . . . 123-125 

Error of inference is not a prominent danger ; as what concerns the 
telepathic evidence is simply what the percipient seemed to himself to see 
or hear, not what he inferred therefrom . . . . 125-126 

§ 5. Of more importance are errors of narration, due to the tendency 
to make an account edifying, or graphic, or startling. In first-hand 
testimony this tendency may be to some extent counterbalanced by the 
desire to be believed ; which has less influence in cases where the narrator is 
not personally responsible, as, e.g., in the spurious and sensational anecdotes 
of anonymous newspaper paragraphs, or of dinner-table gossip. 126-129 

§ 6. Errors of mem,ory are more insidious. If the witness regards the 
facts in a particular speculative or emotional light, facts will be apt, in 
memory, to accommodate themselves to this view, and details will get 
introduced or dropped out in such a manner as to aid the harmonious effect. 
Even apart from any special bias, the mere effort to make definite what 
has become dim may fill in the picture with wrong detail • or the tendency 
to lighten the burden of retention may invest the whole occurrence with 
a spurious trenchancy and simplicity of form . . . 129-131 


§ 7. We have to consider how these various sources of error may 
affect the evidence for a case of spontaneous telepathy. Such a case 
presents a coincidence of a particular kind, with four main points to look 
to : — (1) A particular state of the agent, e.g., the crisis of death ; (2) a 
particular experience of the percipient, e.g., the impression of seeing the 
ao-ent before him in visible form ; (3) the date of (1) ; (4) the date 
of (2) 131-132 

§ 8. The risk of mistake as to the state of the agent is seldom appreci- 
able : his death, for instance, if that is what has befallen him, can usually 
be proved beyond dispute . . . . • • • • 132 

For the experience of the percipient, on the other hand, we have 
generally nothing but his own word to depend on. But for what is required, 
his word is often sufficient. For the evidential point is simply his statement 
that he has had an impression or sensation of a peculiar kind, which, if he 
had it, he knew that he had ; and this point is quite independent of his 
interpretation of his experience, which may easily be erroneous, e.g., if he 
attributes objective reality to what was really a hallucination 133-134 

The risk of misrepresentation is smallest if his description of his 
experience, or a distinct course of action due to his experience, has 
/^rece<iec? his knowledge of what has happened to the agent . 134-136 

§ 9. Where his description of his experience dates from a time 
subsequent to his knowledge of what has happened to the agent, there 
is a possibility that this knowledge may have made the experience seem 
more striking and distinctive than it really was. Still, we have not 
detected definite instances of this sort of inaccuracy. Nor would the 
fact (often expressly stated by the witness) that the experience did not 
at the time of its occurrence suggest the agent, by any means destroy — 
though it would of course weaken — the presumption that it was tele- 
pathic 136-138 

§ 10. As regards the interval of time which may separate the two 
events or experiences on the agent's and the percipient's side respectively, 
an arbitrary limit of 1 2 hours has been adopted — the coincidence in most 
cases being very much closer than this ; but no case will be presented as 
telepathic where the percipient's experience preceded, by however short a 
time, some grave event occurring to the agent, if at the time of the 
percipient's expei'ience the state of the agent was normal . 138-140 

§ 11. It is in the matter of the dates that the risk of mis-statement is 
greatest. The instinct towards simplification and dramatic completeness 
naturally tends to make the coincidence more exact than the facts 

warrant 140-142 

h 2 


§ 12. The date of the event that has befallen the agent is often 
included in the news of that event ; which news, in these days of 
posts and telegraphs, often follows close enough on the percipient's 
experience for the date of that experience to be then safely re- 
called 142-144 

§ 13. But if a longer interval elapse, the percipient may assume too 
readily that his own experience fell on the critical day ; and as time 
goes on, his certainty is likely to increase rather than diminish. Still, if 
the coincidence was then and there noted, and if the attention of others 
was called to it, it may be possible to present a tolerably strong case for 
its reality, even after the lapse of a considerable time . . 144-146 

§ 14. These various evidential conditions may be arranged in a 
graduated scheme 146-148 

§ 15. Second-hand evidence (except of one special type) is excluded 
from the body of the work ; but the Supplement contains a certain 
number of second-hand cases, received from persons who were well 
acquainted with the original witnesses, and who had had the oppor- 
tunity of becoming thoroughly acquainted with their statement of the 
facts 148-149 

In transmitted evidence all the risks of error are greatly intensified, 
there being no deeply-graven sense of reality to act as a check on 
exaggeration or invention. Some instances are given of the breaking- 
down of alleged evidence under critical examination . . 149-154 

A frequent sort of inaccuracy in transmitted evidence is the shortening 
of the chain of transmission — second or third-hand information being 
represented as first-hand ; and the alleged coincidence is almost always 
suspiciously exact . . . . . . . , 154-157 

§ 16. A certain separation of cases according to their evidential value 
has been attempted, the body of the work being reserved for those where 
the pri7nd facie probability that the essential facts are correctly stated is 
tolerably strong. But even where the facts are correctly reported, their 
force in the argument for telepathy will differ according to the class to 
which they belong ; purely emotional impressions, for instance, and dreams, 
are very weak classes , . . . . . , . 158 

The value of the several items of evidence is also largely afiected by 
the mental qualities and training of the witnesses. Every case must be 
judged on its own merits, by reference to a variety of points ; and those 
who study the records will have an equal opportunity of forming a judg- 
ment with those who have collected them — except in the matter of 


personal acquaintance with the witnesses, the effect of whicli it is 
impossible to communicate ....... 1.59-161 

§ 17. An all-important point is the number of the coincidences 
adduced. A few might be accounted accidental ; but it will be impossible 
to apply that hypothesis throughout. Nor can the evidence be swept out 
of court by a mere general appeal to the untrustworthiness of human 
testimony. If it is to be explained away, it must be met (as we have our- 
selves endeavoured to meet it) in detail ; and this necessitates the confront- 
ing of the single cause, telepathy, (whose a priori improbability is fully 
admitted,) with a multitude of causes, more or less improbable, and in 
cumulation incredible . . . . . . . . 161-164 

§ 18. With all their differences, the cases recorded bear strong signs 
of belonging to a true natural group ; and their harmony, alike in what they 
do and in what they do not present, is very unlikely to be the accidental 
result of a multitude of disconnected mistakes. And it is noteworthy that 
certain sensational and suspicious details, here conspicuous by their 
absence, which often make their way into remote or badly-evidenced 
cases, are precisely those which the telepathic hypothesis would not 
cover .......... 164-166 

§ 19. But though some may regard the cumulative argument here put 
forward for spontaneous telepathy as amounting to a proof, the proof is 
not by any means of an eclatant sort : much of the evidence falls far short 
of the ideal standard. Still, enough has perhaps been done to justify our 
undertaking, and to broaden the basis of future inquiry . 166-169 

§ 20. The various items of evidence are, of course, not the links in a 
chain, but the sticks in a faggot. It is impossible to lay down the precise 
number of sticks necessary to a perfectly solid faggot ; but the present 
collection is at least an instalment of what is required . 169-170 

§ 21. The instinct as to the amount of evidence needed may differ 
greatly in a mind which has, and a mind which has not, realised the facts 
of exj^erimental telepathy (Chap, ii.), and the intimate relation of that 
branch to the spontaneous branch. Between the two branches, in spite 
of their difference — a difference as great in appearance as that between 
lightning and the electrical attraction of rubbed amber for bits of straw — 
the great psychological fact of a supersensuous influence of mind on mind 
constitutes a true generic bond . . . . . . 171-172 


Note on Witchcraft. 

The statement made in Chapter iv. as to the lack of first-hand 
evidence for the phenomena of magic and witchcraft (except so far as they 
can be completely accounted for by modern psychological knowledge) may 
seem a sweeping one. But extensive as is the literature of the subject, 
the actual records are extraordinarily meagre ; and the staple prodigies, 
which were really nothing more than popular legends, are quoted and re- 
quoted ad nauseam. Examples of the so-called evidence which supported 
the belief in lycanthropy, and in the nocturnal rides and orgies 172-175 

The case of witchcraft, so far from proving (as is sometimes represented) 
that a more or less imposing array of evidence will be forthcoming for 
any belief that does not distinctly fly in the face of average public 
opinion, goes, in fact, rather surprisingly far towards proving the 
contrary .......... 176-177 

This view of the subject is completely opposed to that of Mr. Lecky, 
whose treatment seems to suffer from the neglect of two important distinc- 
tions. He does not distinguish between evidence — of which, in respect of 
the more bizarre marvels, there was next to none ; and authority — of which 
there was abundance, from Homer downwards. Nor does he discriminate 
the wholly incredible allegations {e.g., as to transportations through the air 
and transformations into animal forms) from the pathological phenomena, 
which in tlie eyes of contemporaries were equally supernatural, and for 
which, as might be expected, the direct evidence was abundant 177-179 

A most important class of these pathological phenomena were subjective 
hallucinations of the senses, often due to terror or excitement, and some- 
times probably to hypnotic suggestion, but almost invariably attributed to 
the direct operation of the devil. Other phenomena — of insensibility, 
inhibition of utterance, abnormal rapport, and the influence of reputed 
witches on health — were almost certainly hypnotic in character ; " posses- 
sion " is often simply hystero-epilepsy ; while much may be accounted for 
by mere hysteria, or by the same sort of faith as produces the modern 
"mind-cures" 179-183 

Learned opinion on the subject of witchcraft went through curious 
vicissitudes ; the recession to a rational standpoint, which in many ways 
was of course a sceptical movement, being complicated by the fact that 
many of the phenomena were too genuine to be doubted. Now that the 
separation is complete, we see that the exploded part of witchcraft never 
had any real evidential foundation ; while the part which had a real 
evidential foundation has been taken up into orthodox physiological and 
psychological science. With the former part we might contrast, and 
with the latter compare, the evidential case for telepathy . 183-185 



Specimens of the Various Types op Spontaneous Telepathy. 

§ 1. As the study of any large amount of the evidence that follows is 
a task for which many readers will be disinclined, a selection of typical 
cases will be presented in this chapter, illustrative of the various classes 
into which the phenomena fall ...... 186-187 

§ 2. The logical starting-point is found in the class that presents most 
analogy to experimental thought-transference — i.e., where the percipient's 
impression is not externalised as part of the objective world. An example 
is given of the transference of juam, and a possible example of the trans- 
ference of smell : but among the phenomena of spontaneous telepathy, 
such literal reproductions of the agent's bodily sensation are very 
exceptional . . . . . . • • • • 18^-191 

§ 3. Examples of the transference of a somewhat abstract idea ; of a 
pictorial image ; and of an emotional impression, involving some degree of 
physical discomfort . . . . . . . . 191-198 

§ 4. Examples of dreams, — a class which needs to be treated with the 
greatest caution, owing to the indefinite scope which it affords for 
accidental coincidences. One of the examples (No. 23) presents the 
feature of deferment of percipience — the telepathic impression having 
apparently failed at first to reach the threshold of attention, and emerg- 
ing into consciousness some hours after the experience on the agent's 
side in which it had its origin ...... 198-203 

§ 5. Examples of the " borderland " class- — a convenient name by which 
to describe cases that belong to a condition neither of sleep nor of provably 
complete waking consciousness ; but it is probable that in many of the 
cases so described (as in No. 26), the percipient, though in bed, was quite 
normally awake ......... 203-208 

§ 6. Examples of externalised impressions of siglit, occurring in the 
midst of ordinary waking life. In some of these we find an indication 
that a close personal rapport between the agent and percipient is not a 
necessary condition of the telepathic transference ; and another is peculiar 
in that the phantasmal figure YS>not recognised by the percipient 208-221 

§ 7. Examples of externalised impressions of hearing ; one of which 
was of a recognised voice, and one of an inarticulate shriek . 221-224 

§ 8. Example of an impression of touch ; which is also, perhaps, an 


example of the reciprocal class, where each of the persons concerned seems 
to exercise a telepathic influence on the other . . 225-227 

§ 9. Example of the collective class, where more percipients than one 
take part in a single telepathic incident .... 227-229 

§ 10. Among the various conditions of telepathic agency, the death- 
cases form by far the commonest type. Now in these cases it is not rare 
for the agent to be comatose and unconscious ; in other cases, again, he 
has been in a swoon or a deep sleep ; and there is a difficulty in under- 
standing an abnormal exercise of psychical energy at such seasons. The 
explanation may possibly be found in the idea of a wider consciousness, 
and a more complete self, which finds in what we call life very imperfect 
conditions of manifestation, and recognises in death not a cessation but a 
liberation of energy ........ 229-231 


Transference of Ideas and Mental Pictures. 

§ 1. The popular belief in the transference of thought, without 
physical signs, between friends and members of the same household, is 
often held on quite insufficient grounds ; allowance not being made for the 
similarity of associations, and for the slightness of the signs which may be 
half-automatically interpreted ...... 232-233 

It often happens, for instance, that one person in a room begins 
humming a tune which is running in another's head ; but it is only very 
exceptionally that such a coincidence can be held to imply a psychical 
transference. Occasionally the idea transferred is closely connected with 
the auditory image of a word or phrase .... 234-236 

§ 2. Examples of the transference of ideas and images of a simple or 
rudimentary sort ......... 236-240 

§ 3. Examples of the transference of more complex ideas, representing 
definite events; and of the occurrence of several such "veridical" 
impressions to the same percipients ..... 241-251 

§ 4. Cases where the idea impressed on the percipient has been simply 
that of the agent's approach — a type which must be accepted with great 
caution, as numerous coincidences of the sort are sure to occur by pure 
accident 251-254 


§ 5. Transferences of mental images of concrete objects and scenes 
with which the agent's attention is occupied at the time . 254-566 

Some of these impressions are so detailed and vivid as to suggest 
clairvoyance ; nor is there any objection to that term, so long as we 
recognise the difference between such telepathic clairvoyance, and any 
supposed independent extension of the percipient's senses . 266-268 

Occasionally the percipient seems to obtain the true impression, not 
by passive reception, but by a deliberate effort . . . . 268 


Emotional and Motor Effects. 

§ 1. Emotional impressions, alleged to have coincided with some 
calamitous event at a distance, form a very dubious class, as (1) in 
retrospect, after the calamity is realised, they are apt to assume a strength 
and definiteness which they did not really possess ; and (2) similar impres- 
sions may be common in the soi-disant percipient's experience, and he 
may have omitted to remark or record the misses — the many instances 
which have not corresponded with any real event. All cases must, of 
course, be rejected where there has been any appreciable ground for 
anxiety 269-270 

§ 2. Examples which may perhaps have been telepathic ; some of 
which include a sense of physical distress .... 270-279 

§ 3. Examples of such transferences between twins . 279-283 

§ 4. Examples where the primary element in the impression is a sense 
of being wanted, and an impulse to movement or action of a sort unlikely 
to have suggested itself in the ordinary course of things . 283-292 

The telepathic influence in such cases must be interpreted as 
emotional, not as definitely directing, and still less as abrogating, the per- 
cipient's power of choice : the movements produced may be such as the 
agent cannot have desired, or even thought of . . . 292-294 


Part I. — The Relation of Dreams to the Argument for Telepathy. 

§ 1. Dreams comprise the whole range of transition from ideal and 
emotional to sensory affections ; and at every step of the transition we 
find instances which may reasonably be regarded as telepathic 295-296 


The great interest of the distinctly sensory specimens lies in the 
fundamental resemblance which they offer, and the transition which they 
form, to the externalised "phantasms of the living" which impress 
ivaking percipients ; the difference being that the dream-percepts are 
recognised, on reflection, as having been hallucinatory, and unrelated to 
that part of the external world where the percipient's body is ; while the 
waking phantasmal percepts are apt to be regarded as objective phenomena, 
which really impressed the eye or the ear from outside . . 296-297 

§ 2. But when >ve examine dreams in respect of their evidential value 
— -of the proof which they are capable of afibrding of a telepathic corre- 
spondence with the reality — we find ourselves on doubtful ground. For (1) 
the details of the reality, when known, will be very apt to be read hack 
into the dream, through the general tendency to make vague things 
distinct; and (2) the great multitude of dreams may seem to afford almost 
limitless scope for accidental correspondences of a dream with an actual 
occurrence resembling the one dreamt of. Any answer to this last objection 
must depend on statistics which, until lately, there has been no attempt 
to obtain ; and though an answer of a sort can be given, it is not such a 
one as would justify us in basing a theory of telepathy on the facts of 
dreams alone ......... 298-300 

§ 3. Most of the dreams selected for this work were exceptional in 
intensity : and produced marked distress, or were described, or were in 
some way acted on, before the news of the correspondent experience was 
known. In content, too, they were mostly of a distinct and unusual kind ; 
while some of them present a considerable amount of true detail . 300-302 

And more than half of those selected on the above grounds are 
dreams of death — a fact easy to account for on the hypothesis of telepathy, 
and difficult to account for on the hypothesis of accident . . 303 

§ 4. Dreams so definite in content as dreams of death afford an op- 
portunity of ascertaining what their actual frequency is, and so of estima- 
ting whether the specimens which have coincided with reality are or are 
not more numerous than chance would fairly allow. With a view to such 
an estimate, a specimen group of 5360 persons, taken at random, have 
been asked as to their personal experiences ; and, according to the result, 
the persons who have had a vividly distressful dream of the death of a re- 
lative or acquaintance, within the 12 years 1874-1885, amount to about 
1 in 26 of the population. Taking this datum, it is shown that the number 
of coincidences of the sort in question that, according to the law of chances, 
ought to have occurred in the 1 2 years, among a section of the population 
even larger than that from which we can suppose our telepathic evidence 


to be drawn, is only 1. Now, (taking account only of cases where 
nothing had occurred to suggest the dream in a normal way,) we have 
encountered 24 such coincidences — i.e., a number 24 times as large as 
would have been expected on the hypothesis that the coincidence is due 
to chance alone .......•• 303-307 

Certain objections that might be taken to this estimate are to a con- 
siderable extent met by the precautions that have been used . 308-3 1 

§ 5. The same sort of argument may be cautiously applied to cases 
where the event exhibited in the coincident dream is not, like death, 
unique, and where, therefore, the basis for an arithmetical estimate is un- 
attainable 311-312 

But many more specimens of a high evidential rank are needed, before 
dreams can rank as a strong integral portion of the argument for telepathy. 
Meanwhile, it is only fair to regard them in connection with the stronger 
evidence of the waking phenomena ; since in respect of many of them an 
explanation that is admitted in the waking cases cannot reasonably be 
rejected .......... 312-313 

Part. II. — Examples op Dreams which may be Reasonably Regarded 

AS Telepathic. 

§ 1. Examples of similar and simultaneous dreams . 313-318 

An experience which has coincided with some external fact or 

condition may be described as a dream, and yet be sufficiently exceptional 

in character to preclude an application of the theory of chances based on 

the limitless number of dreams . . ... 318-320 

§ 2. Examples of the reproduction, in the percipient's dream, of a 
special thought of the agent's, who is at the time awake and in a normal 
state 320-322 

§ 3. Examples of a similar reproduction where the agent is in a dis- 
turbed ^X^A^q . 322-329 

§ 4. Cases where the agent's personality appears in the dream, but not 
in a specially pictorial way. Inadmissibility of dreams that occur 
at times of anxiety, of dreams of trivial accidents to children, and the 
like 329-337 

§ 5. Cases where the reality which the eyes of the agent are actually 


beholding is pictorially represented in the dream. Reasons why the 
majority of alleged instances must be rejected . . . 337-340 

The appearance in the dream of the agent's own figure, which is not 
presumably occupying his own thoughts, suggests an independent develop- 
ment, by the percipient, of the impression that he receives . 340-341 

§ 6. The familiar ways in which dreams are shaped make it easy to 
understand how a dreamer might supply his own setting and imagery to a 
" transferred impression." Examples where the elements thus introduced 
are few and simple ........ 341-356 

§ 7. Examples of more complex investiture, and especially of imagery 
suggestive of death. Importance of the feature of repetition in some of 
the examples ......... 357-368 

§ 8. Examples of dreams which may be described as clairvoyant, but 
which still must be held to imply some sort of telepathic " agency " ; 
since the percipient does not see any scene, but the particular scene with 
some actor in which he is connected ..... 368-388 


" Borderland " Cases. 

§ 1. The transition-states between sleeping and waking — or, more 
generally, the seasons when a person is in bed, but not asleep — seem to 
be specially favourable to subjective hallucinations of the senses ; of which 
some are known as illusions hypnagogiques ; others are the prolongations 
of dream-images into waking moments ; and some belong to neither of 
these classes, though experienced in the moments or minutes that precede 
or follow sleep .........' 389-393 

§ 2. It is not surprising that the same seasons should be favourable 
also to the hallucinations which, as connected with conditions external to 
the percipient, we should describe, not as subjective, but as telepathic 393 

As evidence for telepathy, impressions of this " borderland " type 
stand on an altogether different footing from dreams ; since their in- 
calculably smaller number supplies an incalculably smaller field for the 
operation of chance ........ 393-394 

Very great injustice is done to the telepathic argument by confound- 
ing such impressions with dreams ; as where Lord Brougham explains 
away the coincidence of a unique " borderland " experience of his own 
with the death of the friend whose form he saw, on the ground that the 


" vast numbers of dreams " give any amount of scope for such " seeming 
miracles "....•••••• 394-397 

§ 3. Examples where the impression was not of a sensory sort 397-400 

§ 4. Example of an apparently telepathic illusion hypnagogique 400-402 

§ 5. Auditory examples. Cases where the sound heard was not 

articulate 402-405 

Cases where distinct words were heard .... 406-413 

§ 6. Visual examples: of which two (Nos. 159 and 160) illustrate 
the feature of repetition; another (No. 168) that of the appearance of 
more than one figure : and two others (Nos. 170 and 171) that of 7nis- 
recognition on the percipient's part ..... 414-434 

§ 7. Cases where the sense of touch was combined with that of sight or 
hearing. One case (No. 178) presents the important feature of marked 
luminosity . ........ 434-441 

§ 8. Cases affecting the two senses of sight and hearing. One case 
(No. 189) presents the feature of non-recognition on the percipient's 
part 441-456 


Hallucinations : General Sketch. 

§ 1. Telepathic phantasms of the externalised sort are a species belong- 
ing to the larger genus of hallucinations ; and the genus requires some 
preliminary discussion . . . . . . . .457 

Hallucinations of the senses are distinguished from other hallucinations 
by the fact that they do not necessarily imply false belief . . 458 

They may be defined as percepts which lack, hut which can only by 
distinct reflection he recognised as lacking, the objective basis vjhich they 
suggest ; a definition which marks them ofi" on the one hand from true 
perceptions, and on the other hand from remembered images or mental 
pictures 459-460 

§ 2. The old method of defining the ideational and the sensory 
elements in the phenomena was very unsatisfactory. It is easy to show 
that the delusive appearances are not merely imagined, but are actually 
seen and heard — the hallucination differing from an ordinary percept only 


in lacking an objective basis ; and this is what is implied in the word 
psycho-sensorial, when rightly understood .... 461-464 

§ 3. The question as to the physiological starting-point of hallucina- 
tions — whether they are of central or oi perij:)heral origin — has been warmly 
debated, often in a very one-sided manner. The construction of them, 
which is central and the work of the brain, is quite distinct from the exci- 
tation or initiation of them, which (though often central also) is often 
peripheral — i.e., due to some other part of the body that sets the brain to 
work .......... 464-468 

§ 4. This excitation may even be due to some objective external 
cause, some visible point or mark, at or near the place where the 
imaginary object is seen ; and in such cases the imaginary object, which 
is, so to speak, attached to its point, may follow the course of any optical 
illusion (e.g., doubling by a prism, reflection by a mirror) to which that 
point is subjected. But such dependence on an external stimulus does 
not affect the fact that the actual sensory element of the hallucination, in 
these as in all other cases, is imposed from within by the brain 468-470 

§ 5. There, are, however, a large number of hallucinations which are 
centrally initiated, as well as centrally constructed — the excitation being 
due neither to an external point, nor to any morbid disturbance in the sense- 
organs themselves. Such, probably, are many visual cases where the 
imaginary object is seen in free space, or appears to move independently of 
the eye, or is seen in darkness. Such, certainly, are many auditory 
hallucinations ; some hallucinations of pain ; many hallucinations which 
conform to the course of some more general delusion ; and hallucinations 
voluntarily originated ....... 470-480 

§ 6. Such also are hallucinations of a particular internal kind common 
among mystics, in which the sensory element seems reduced to its lowest 
terms ; and which shade by degrees, on the one side into more externalised 
forms, and on the other side into a mere feeling of presence, independent 
of any sensory affection ....... 480-484 

§ 7. A further argument for the central initiation may be drawn from 
the fact that repose of the sense-organs seems a condition favourable to 
hallucinations ; and the psychological identity of waking hallucinations 
and dreams cannot be too strongly insisted on . . . 484-485 

§ 8. As regards the construction of hallucinations — the cerebral 
process involved in their having this or that particular form — the question 
is whether it takes place in the specific sensory centre concerned, or in 
some higher cortical tract ....... 485-488 


5^ 9. There are reasons for considering that both places of construction 
are available ; that the simpler sorts of hallucination, many of which are 
clearly "after-images," and which are often also recurrent, may take shape 
at the sensory centres themselves ; but that the more elaborate and 
variable sorts must be traced to the higher origin ; and that when the 
higher tracts are first concerned, the production of the hallucination is due 
to a downward escape of the nervous impulse to the sensory centre 
concerned . . . . . . . . . . 488-494 

§ 10. The construction of hallucinations in the cortical tracts of the 
brain, proper to the higher co-ordinations and the more general ideational 
activities, is perfectly compatible with the view that the specific sensory 
centres are themselves situated not below, but in, the cortex. 494-495 


Transient Hallucinations of the Sane : Ambiguous Cases. 

§ 1. Transient hallucinations of the sane (a department of mental 
phenomena hitherto but little studied) comprise two classes : (1) 
hallucinations of purely siihjective origin ; and (2) hallucinations of tele- 
pathic origin — i.e., " phantasms of the living " which have an objective 
basis in the exceptional condition of the person whom they recall or 
represent. Comparing the two classes, we should expect to find a large 
amount of resemblance, and a certain amount of difference, between 
them 496-497 

§ 2. Certain marked resemblances at once present tliemselves ; as that 
(generally speaking) neither sort of phenomenon is observably connected 
with any morbid state ; and that each sort of phenomenon is rare — 
occurring to a comparatively small number of persons, and to most of 
these only once or twice in a lifetime ..... 497-499 

§ 3. But in pressing the comparison further, we are met by the fact 
that the dividing line between the two classes is not clear ; and it is 
important to realise certain grounds of ambiguity, which often prevent us 
from assigning an experience with certainty to this class or that 500-502 

§ 4. Various groups of hallucinations are passed in review; — "after 
images " ; phantasmal objects which are the result of a special train of 
thought ; phantasms of inanimate objects, and of animals, and non-vocal 
auditory phantasms ; visual representations of fragments of human forms ; 
auditory impressions of meaningless sentences, or of groaning, and the 

xxxii . SmOPSIS OF VOL. I. 

like • and visions of the " swarming " type. Nearly all specimens of these 
types may safely be referred to the purely subjective class . 502-504 

It is when we come to visual hallucinations representing complete and 
natural-lookintf human forms, and auditory hallucinations of distinct and 
intelligible words, (though here again there is every reason to suppose the 
majority of the cases to be purely subjective,) that the ambiguous cases 
are principally to be found ; the ground of ambiguity being that either (1) 
the person represented has been in an ordy slightly unusual state ; or (2) a 
person in a viormal state has been represented in hallucination to more 
than one percipient at different times ; or (3) an abnormal state of the 
person represented has coincided with the representation loosely, but not 
exactly ; or (4) the percipient has been in a condition of anxiety, awe, or 
expectancy, which might be regarded as the independent cause of his 
experience ...••••••• oU4-oOo 

§ 5. The evidence that mere anxiety may produce sensory hallucination 
is sufficient greatly to weaken, as evidence for telepathy, any case where 
that condition has been present 506-509 

^ 6. The same may be said of the form of awe which is connected with 
the near sense of death ; and (except in a few " collective " cases) abnormal 
experiences which \ia.YQ followed death have been excluded from the tele- 
pathic evidence, if the fact of the death was known to the percipient. 
As to the included cases that have followed death by an appreciable 
interval, reasons are given for preferring the hypothesis of deferred 
development to that of j^ost mortem influence — though the latter 
hypothesis would be quite compatible with the psychical conception of 
telepathy 510-512 

§ 7. There is definite evidence to show that mere expectancy may 
produce hallucination . . . • • • • 510-512 

One type which is probably so explicable being the delusive impression 
of seeing or hearing a person whose arrival is expected . . 515-517 

^5 8. There is, however, a group of arrival-cases where the impending 
arrival was unknown or unsuspected by the percipient ; or where the 
phantasm has included some special detail of appearance which points to 
a telepathic origin ... ..... ol7-5Io 



The Development of Telepathic Hallucinations 

§ 1. There are two very principal ways in wliich phantasms of telepathic 
origin often resemble purely subjective hallucinations : (1) gradualness 
of development ; and (2) originality of form or content, showing the 
activity of the percipient's own mind in the construction . 519-520 

§ 2. Gradual development is briefly illustrated in the purely subjective 
class 520-522 

§ 3. And at greater length in the telepathic class. It may exhibit 
itself (1) in delayed recognition of the phantasm on the part of the 
percipient .......... 522-525 

Or (2) in the way in which tlie phantasm gathers visible shape 525-528 

Or (3) in the progress of the hallucination through several distinct 

stages, sometimes affecting more than one sense . . . 528-534 

§ 4. Originality of construction is involved to some extent in every 
sensory hallucination which is more than a mere revival of familiar 
images ; but admits of very various degrees .... 534-536 

§ 5. In telepathic hallucinations, the signs of the percipient's own 
constructive activity are extremely important. For the difference from 
the results of experimental thought-transference, which telepathic 
phantasms exhibit, in representing what is not consciously occupying the 
agent's mind — to wit, his own form or voice — ceases to be a difficulty in 
proportion as the extent of the impression transferred from the agent to 
the percipient can be conceived to be small, and the percipient's own 
contribution to the phantasm can be conceived to be large . 536-537 

It may be a peculiarity of the transferred idea that it impels the 
receiving mind to react on it, and to embody and project it as a hallucina- 
tion ; but the form and detail of the embodiment admit — as in 
dream — of many varieties, depending on the percipient's own idiosyncrasies 
and associations ......... 537-540 

§ 6. Thus the percipient may invest the idea of his friend, the agent, 
with features of dress or appurtenance that his own memory supplies. 
(One of the examples given, ISTo. 202, illustrates a point common to the 
purely subjective and to the telepathic class, and about equally rare in 
either — the appearance of more than one figure) . . . 540-546 

§ 7. Or the investing imagery may be of a more fanciful kind — some- 
times the obvious reflection of the percipient's habitual beliefs, sometimes 

xxxiv SYA^'OPSIS OF VOL. I. 

the mere bizarrerie of what is literally a "waking dream." Many diffi- 
culties vanish, when the analogy of dream is boldly insisted on 547-548 

Examples of phantasmal appearances presenting features which would 
in reality be impossible ....... 548-550 

The luminous character of many visual phantasms is specially to be 
noted, as a feature common to the purely subjective and to the telepathic 
class ........... 550-551 

Examples of imagery connected with ideas of death, and of re- 
ligion .......... 551-554 

§ 8. Sometimes, however, the phantasm includes details of dress or 
aspect which could not be supplied by the percipient's mind. Such particu- 
lars may sometimes creep without warrant even into evi lence where the 
central fact of the telepathic coincidence is correctly reported ; but where 
genuinely observed, they must apparently be attributed to a conscious or 
sub-conscious image of his own appearance (or of some feature of it) in 
the agent's mind, to which the percipient obtains access by what may be 
again described as telepathic clairvoyance. Examples . . 554-569 

In cases where the details of the phantasm are such as either mind 
might conceivably have supplied, it seems simpler to regard them as the 
contributions of the percipient, than to suppose that a clean-cut and 
complete image has been transferred to him from indefinite unconscious or 
sub-conscious strata of the agent's mind .... 569-570 

§ 9. The development of a phantasm from the nucleus of a transferred 
impression is a fact strongly confirmatory of the \aew maintained in the 
preceding chapters, as to the physiological starting point of many halluci- 
nations. Especially must the hypothesis of centrifugal origin (of a process 
in the direction from higher to lower centres) commend itself in cases 
where the experience seems to have implied the quickening of vague 
associations and distant memories, whose physical record must certainly 
lie in the highest cerebral tracts ...... 570-572 

§ 10. Summary of the various points of parallelism between purely 
subjective and telepathic phantasms, whereby their identity as phenomena 
for the senses seems conclusively established. But they present also some 
very important contrasts . . . . . . . 572-573 


Koi Tov 6e6v TOLovTov e^eTTiCTTafiai, 
(rocpols fxev alviKTrjpa decrc^ciTuiv dei, 
(TKaLois Se (fiavXov Kav jBpax^ii di8d(TKaXov. 


§ 1. The subject of this book is one which a brief title is hardly 
sufficient to explain. For under our heading of " Phantasms of the 
Living," we propose, in fact, to deal with all classes of cases where 
there is reason to suppose that the mind of one human being has 
affected the mind of another, without speech uttered, or word 
written, or sign made ; — has affected it, that is to say, by other 
means than through the recognised channels of sense. 

To such transmission of thoughts or feelings we have elsewhere 
given the name of telepathy ; and the records of an experimental 
proof of the reality of telepathy will form a part of the present work. 
But, for reasons which will be made manifest as we proceed, we have 
included among telepathic phenomena a vast class of cases which 
seem at first sight to involve something widely different from a mere 
transference of thought. 

I refer to apjjaritions ; excluding, indeed, the alleged apparitions 
of the dead, but including the apparitions of all persons who are still 
living, as we know life, though they may be on the very brink and 
border of physical dissolution. And these apparitions, as will be seen, 
are themselves extremely various in character ; including not visual 
phenomena alone, but auditory, tactile, or even purely ideational and 
emotional impressions. All these we have included under the term 
pliantasm ; a word which, though etymologically a mere variant of 
phantom, has been less often used, and has not become so closely 
identified with visual impressions alone. 

Such, then, is the meaning of our title ; but something more of 
explanation is necessary before the tone and purport of the book can 


be correctly apprehended. In a region so novel we could hardly be 
surprised at any amount of misinterpretation. Some readers, for 
instance, may fancy that a bulky and methodical treatise on phantoms 
can be but a half-serious thing. Others may suspect thai its inspira- 
tion is in the love of paradox, and that a fantastic craving for originality 
has led the authors along a path where they cannot expect, and can 
hardly desire, that the sober world should follow them. 

§ 2. It is necessary, therefore, to state at once that we have no 
wish either to mystify or to startle mankind. On the contrary, the 
conjoint and consultative scheme according to which this book has 
been compiled is thus arranged mainly with a view to correcting or 
neutralising individual fancies or exaggerations, of leaving as little as 
possible to the unchecked idiosyncrasy of an} single thinker. And, 
again, we wish distinctly to say that so far from aiming at any 
paradoxical reversion of established scientific conclusions, we conceive 
ourselves to be working (however imperfectly) in the main track of 
discovery, and assailing a problem which, though strange and hard, does 
yet stand next in order among the new adventures on which Science 
must needs set forth, if her methods and her temper are to guide and 
control the widening curiosity, the expanding capacities of men. 

We anticipate, in short, that although it may at first be said of us 
that we have performed with needless elaboration a foolish and futile 
task, the ultimate verdict on our work will rather be that we have 
undertaken — with all too limited a knowledge and capacity — to open 
an inquiry which was manifestly impending, and to lay the foundation- 
stone of a study which will loom large in the approaching age. 

Our only paradox, then, is the assertion that we are not 
paradoxical ; and that assertion it is the main business of this 
Introduction to justify. 

§ 3. For this purpose two principal heads of exposition will be 
required. In the first place, since this book (for whose contents we 
are solely responsible) was undertaken by us at the request of the 
Council of the Society for Psychical Research, and is largely based 
on material which that Council has placed at our disposal, it will be 
necessary to say something as to the scope and object of the Society 
in question ; — its grounds for claiming a valid scientific position, and 
its points of interconnection with established branches of philosophic 


And, secondly, it will bo needful to indicate the precise position 
which the theme of this book occujjies in the field of our investiga- 
tions ; the reason why we have isolated these special phenomena in 
a separate group, and have selected them for discussion at this early 
stage of the Society's labours. 

A reader of the programme of the Society will probably feel that 
although the special topics to which attention is there invited 
may be unfamiliar, yet its general plea is such as he has often noted 
in the history of science before. " To approach these various problems 
without prejudice or prepossession of any kind, and in the same spirit 
of exact and unimpassioned inquiry which has enabled Science to 
solve so many problems, once not less obscure nor less hotly debated ;" 
— phrases like these have no more of novelty than there might be, 
for instance, in the proposal of a Finance Minister to abolish the last of 
a long series of protective embargoes. Free Trade and free inquiry 
have each of them advanced step by step, and by dint of the frequent 
repetition, under varying difficulties, of very similar, and very 
elementary, truths. The special peculiarity of our topic is that it is 
an article (so to say) on which the Free Traders themselves have 
imposed an additional duty ; that it has been more sternly dis- 
countenanced by the men who appeal to experiment than by the 
men who appeal to authority ; — that its dispassionate discussion has 
since the rise of modern science been tabooed more jealously than 
when the whole province was claimed by theology alone. There have 
been reasons, no doubt, for such an exclusion ; and I am not asserting 
that either Free Trade or free inquiry is always and under all circum- 
stances to be desired. But it is needful to point out yet once more 
how plausible the reasons for discouraging some novel research have 
often seemed to be, while yet the advance of knowledge has rapidly 
shown the futility and folly of such discouragement. 

It was the Father of Science himself who was the first to 
circumscribe her activity. Socrates, in whose mind the idea of the 
gulf between knotuledge and mere opinion attained a dominant 
intensity which impressed itself on ail ages after him, — Socrates 
expressly excluded from the range of exact inquiry all such matters 
as the movements and nature of the sun and moon. He wished — and 
as he expressed his wish it seemed to have all the cogency of absolute 
wisdom — that men's minds should be turned to the ethical and 
political problems which truly concerned them, — not wasted in specula- 
tion on things unknowable — things useless even could they be known. 


In a kindred spirit, though separated from Socrates by the whole 
result of that physical science which Socrates had deprecated, we find 
a great modern systematiser of human thought again endeavouring 
to direct the scientific impulse towards things serviceable to man ; to 
divert it from things remote, unknowable, and useless if known. 
What then, in Comte's view, are in fact the limits of man's actual 
home and business ? the bounds within which he may set himself to 
learn all he can, assured that all will serve to inform his conscience 
and guide his life ? It is the solar system which has become for the 
French philosopher what the street and market-place of Athens were 
for the Greek. And this enlargement (it need hardly be said) is not 
due to any wider grasp of mind in Comte than in Socrates, but 
simply to the march of science ; which has shown us that the whole 
solar system does, in fact, minister to our practical needs, and that 
the Nautical Almanack demands for its construction a mapping of 
the paths of those ordered luminaries which in the time of Socrates 
seemed the very wanderers of Heaven. 

I need not say that Comte's prohibition has been altogether 
neglected. No frontier of scientific demarcation has been established 
between Neptune and Sirius, between Uranus and Aldebaran. Our 
knowledge of the fixed stars increases yearly ; and it would be rash 
to maintain that human conduct is not already influenced by the 
conception thus gained of the unity and immensity of the heavens. 

To many of the comments that have been made on our work, 
even by men who are not formal Comtists, the above reflections 
furnish a fitting reply. But it is not only, nor perhaps mainly, on 
account of the remoteness of our subject, or its unimportance to 
human progress, that objection is taken to our inquiry. The 
criticisms which have met us, from the side sometimes of scientific, 
sometimes of religious orthodoxy, have embodied, in modernised 
phraseology, nearly every well-worn form of timid protest, or 
obscurantist demurrer, with which the historians of science have 
been accustomed to give piquancy to their long tale of discovery and 
achievement. It would have been convenient had these objections 
been presented to us in a connected and formal manner. But this 
has not been the case ; and, in fact, they are in their very nature too 
incoherent, too self-contradictory, for continuous statement. Some- 
times we are told that we are inviting the old theological sjiirit to 
encroach .once more on the domain of science ; sometimes that we are 
endeavouring to lay the impious hands of Science upon the mysteries 


of Religion. Sometimes we are informed that conipetent savanttf 
have already fully explored the field which we propose for our 
investigation ; sometimes that no respectable man of science would 
condescend to meddle with such a reeking mass of fraud and hysteria. 
Sometimes we are pitied as laborious triflers who prove some infinitely 
small matter with mighty trouble and pains ; sometimes we are 
derided as attempting the solution of gigantic problems by slight and 
superficial means. 

§ 4. The best way of meeting objections thus confused and contra- 
dictory will be to show as clearly as we can at what points our 
inquiries touch the recent results of science ; what signs there are 
which indicate the need of vigorous advance along the lines which we 
have chosen. We shall show, perhaps, that there is a kind of 
convergence towards this especial need — that in several directions of 
research there is felt that kind of pause and hesitancy which is wont 
to precede the dawn of illuminating conceptions. We shall not, of 
course, thus prove that our own attempt has been siiccessful, but we 
shall prove that it was justified ; that if the problems which we set 
ourselves to solve are found to be insoluble, the gaps thus left in the 
system of thought on which man's normal life is based will be such as 
can neither be ignored nor supplied, but will become increasingly 
palpable and increasingly dangerous. 

Let us consider how far this remark can be justified with regard 
to some of the leading branches of human knowledge in turn. And 
let us take first Biology, the science which on the whole approaches 
the closest to our own inquiries. Biology has, during the last half- 
century, made an advance which, measured by the hold exercised on 
the mass of cultivated minds, has perhaps had no parallel since the 
forward stride of astronomy and physics in the days of Newton. A 
glance at the text-books of the last generation, in physical or mental 
science — Whewell's History of the Inductive Sciences, or Mill's 
Logic, — as compared, for instance, with the works of their 
immediate successor, Mr. Herbert Spencer, shows something which is 
not so much progress as revolution — the transformation of Biology 
from a mere special department of knowledge into the key to man's 
remotest history, the only valid answer to the profoundest questions 
as to his present being. 

For, in truth, it is Biology above all other sciences which has 
profited by the doctrine of evolution. In evolution, — in the doctrine 


that the whole cosmical order is the outcome of a gradual 
development, — mankind have gained for the first time a working 
hypothesis which covers enough of the known facts of the universe 
to make its possible extension to all facts a matter of hopeful 
interest. And Biology, which even at the date of Whewell's 
book could barely make good its claim to be regarded as a 
coherent science at all, has now acquired a co-ordinating and 
continuous principle of unity which renders it in some respects 
the best type of a true science which we possess. It traces 
life from the protozoon to the animal, from the brute to the man ; 
it offers to explain the complex fabric of human thought and 
emotion, viewed from the physical side, as the development 
of the molecular movements of scarcely-differentiated fragments 
of protaplasm. 

And along with this increased knowledge of the processes by 
which man has been upbuilt has come also an increased knowledge 
of the processes which are now going on within him. The same 
inquiries which have brought our organic life into intelligible relation 
with the whole range of animal and vegetable existence have 
enabled us also to conceive more definitely the neural side of our 
mental processes, and the relation of cerebral phenomena to their 
accompanying emotion or thought. And hence, in the view of 
some ardent physiologists, it is becoming more and more probable 
that we are in fact physiological automata ; that our consciousness 
is a mere superadded phenomenon — a mere concomitant of some 
special intensity of cerebral action, with no basis beyond or apart from 
the molecular commotion of the brain. 

But this view, as it would seem, depends in a great part upon 
something which corresponds in the mental field to a familiar optical 
illusion. When we see half of some body strongly illuminated, and 
half of it feebly illuminated, it is hard to believe that the brilliant 
moiety is not the larger of the two. And, similarly, it is the increased 
definiteness of our conception of the physical side of our mental 
operations which seems to increase its relative importance, — to give it 
a kind of priority over the psychical aspect of the same processes. 
Yet, of course, to the philosophic eye the central problem of the 
relation of the objective and subjective sides of these psycho-neural 
phenomena can be in no way altered by any increase of definiteness 
in our knowledge of the objective processes which correspond to the 
subjective states. 


And, on the other hand, there is one singular logical corollary which 
seems thus far to have escaped the notice of physiologist and 
psychologist alike. It is this : that our increased vividness of 
conception of the physical side of mental life, while it cannot possibly 
disprove the independence of the psychical side, may quite 
conceivably ^^rof e it. I will again resort to the (very imperfect) 
analogy of a partially-illuminated body. Suppose that one hemisphere 
of a globe is strongly lit up, and that the other is lit up by faint and 
scattered rays.^ I am trying to discern whether the two hemispheres 
are symmetrically marked throughout. Now no clearness of marks on 
the bright hemisphere can disprove the existence of corresponding 
marks on the dim one. But, on the other hand, it is conceivable that 
one of the few rays which fall on the dim hemisphere may reveal some 
singular mark which I can see that the bright hemisphere does not 
possess. And the brighter the bright hemisphere is made, the more 
certain do I become that this particular mark is not to be found 
on it. 

§ 5. I will give two concrete examples of what I mean — one of 
them drawn from the conclusions of a great physiologist, the other 
from the obvious condition of a new branch of experimental inquiry. 
I shall not discuss either instance in detail, since I am here only 
endeavouring to show that with increased precision in psycho- 
physical researches the old problems of free-will, soul and body, &c., 
are presenting more definite issues, and offering a far more hopeful 
field to the exact philosopher than their former vagueness allowed. 

My first illustration, then, is from the form which the old 
free-will controversy has assumed in the hands of Wundt. Wundt 
stands, of course, among the foremost of those who have treated 
human thought and sensation as definite and measurable things, 
who have computed their rate of transit, and analysed their 
elements, and enounced the laws of their association. It is not from 
him that we need look for any lofty metaphysical view as to the 
infinite resources of spiritual power, — the transcendental character 
of psychical phenomena. But, nevertheless, Wundt believes himself 
able to assert that there is within us a residue — an all-important 
residue — of psychical action which is incommensurable with physio- 

1 The analogy will be closer if we suppose that the second half is lit, not 
dimly hut from ivithin, — since in one sense consciousness gives us more information as to 
the psychical than as to the physical side of life, though it is information of a different 


logical law. So far, he holds, is the principle of conservation of energy 
from covering the psychical realm, that the facts of mental evolution 
proclaim that the very contrary is the case ; — and that what really ob- 
tains is rather "an unlimited new creation of psychical energy."^ ^a-J' 
so convinced is he of the inadequacy of any system of physiological 
determinism to explain psychical facts, that he holds that we must 
directly reverse the materialistic view of the relation of the corporeal 
to the psychical life. " It is not the psychical life," he says, " which 
is a product of the physical organisation ; rather it is the physical 
organism which, in all those purposive adjustments which distinguish 
it from inorganic compounds, is itself a psychical creation." - 

I am not here expressing either agreement or disagreement with 
this general view. I am merely pointing out that here is an opinion 
which, whether right or wrong, is formed as a result not of vagueness 
but oi distinctness of physiological conceptions. And my illustration 
shows at any rate that the development of physiology is tending not 
always to make the old psychical problems seem meaningless or 
sterile, but rather to give them actuality and urgency, and even to 
suggest new possibilities of their solution. 

§ 6. But, to come to my second instance, it is perhaps from the 
present position of hypnotism that the strongest argument may 
be drawn for the need of such researches as ours, to supplement 
and co-ordinate the somewhat narrower explorations of technical 
physiology. For the actual interest of the mesmeric or hypnotic 
trance — I am not now dealing with the rival theories which these 
words connote — the central interest, let us say, of induced somnam- 
bulism, or the sleep-waking state— has hardly as yet revealed itself 
to any section of inquirers. 

That interest lies neither in mesmerism as a curative agency, 
as Elliotson would have told us, nor in hypnotism as an illustration 
of inhibitory cerebral action, as Heidenhain would tell us now. It 
lies in the fact that here is a psychical experiment on a larger scale 
than was ever possible before ; that we have at length got hold of a 
handle which turns the mechanism of our being ; that we have found 

1 " Hier gilt vielmehr ein Gesetz luibegrenzter Neuschopfung geistiger Energie, 
welches nur durch die sinnliche Bestimmtheit des geistigen Lebens gewisse Hemmungen 
erleidet."— Wundt, Lo(iik, II., p. 507. 

2 "Nicht das geistige Leben ist ein Erzeugniss der physischen Organisation, sondern 
diese ist in allem, was sie an zweckvollen Einrichtungen der Selbstregulirung und der 
Energie-verwerthung vor den Substanzcomplexen der unorganischen Xatur voraushat, 
eine geistige Schopfung." — Wundt, Logik, II., p. 471. 


a mode of shifting the threshold of consciousness which is a dislocation 
as violent as madness, a submergence as pervasive as sleep, and yet 
is waking sanity ; that we have induced a change of personality 
which is not per se either evolutive or dissolutive, but seems a mere 
allotropic modification of the very elements of man. The prime 
value of the hypnotic trance lies not in what it inhibits, but in what 
it reveals ; not in the occlusion of the avenues of peripheral stimulus, 
but in the emergence of unnoted sensibilities, nay, perhaps even in 
the manifestation of new and centrally-initiated powers. 

The hypnotic trance is an eclipse of the normal consciousness 
which can be repeated at will. Now the first observers of eclipses of 
the sun ascribe them to supernatural causes, and attribute to them 
an occult influence for good or evil. Then comes the stage at which 
men note their effects on the animal organism, the roosting of birds, 
the restlessness of cattle. Then come observations on the intensity 
of the darkness, the aspect of the lurid shade. But to the modern 
astronomer all this is trifling as compared with the knowledge which 
those brief moments give him of the orb itself in its obscuration. 
He learns from that transient darkness more than the noon of day 
can tell ; he sees the luminary no longer as a defined and solid ball, 
but as the centre of the outrush of flaming energies, the focus of an 
effluence which coruscates untraceably through immeasurable fields 
of heaven. 

There is more in this parallel than a mere empty metaphor. It 
suggests one of the primary objects which psychical experiment must 
seek to attain. Physical experiment aims at correcting the deliver- 
ances of man's consciousness with regard to the external world by 
instruments which extend the range, and concentrate the power, 
and compensate the fallacies of his senses. And similarly, our 
object must be to correct the deliverances of man's consciousness 
concerning the processes which are taking place ivithin him by 
means of artificial displacements of the psycho-physical threshold ; 
by inhibiting normal perception, obliterating normal memory, so that 
in this temporary freedom from preoccupation by accustomed stimuli 
his mind may reveal those latent and delicate capacities of which his 
ordinary conscious self is unaware. 

I 7. It was thus, in fact, that thought-transference, or telepathy, 
was first discovered. In the form of community of sensation between 
operator and subject, it was noted nearly a century ago as a 


phenomenon incident to the mesmeric trance. Its full importance 
was not perceived, and priceless opportunities of experiment were 
almost wholly neglected. In order to bring out the value and extent 
of the phenomenon it was necessary, we venture to think, that it 
should be investigated by men whose interest in the matter lay not 
in the direction of practical therapeutics but of psychical theory, and 
who were willing to seek and " test for it " under a wide range of 
conditions, not in sleep-waking life only, but in normal waking, and 
normal sleep, and, as this book will indicate, up to the very hour of 

The difficulties of this pursuit are not physiological only. But, 
nevertheless, in our endeavours to establish and to elucidate telepathy, 
we look primarily for aid to the most recent group of physiological 
inquirers, to the psycho-physicists whose special work — as yet in its 
infancy — has only in our own day been rendered possible by the 
increased accuracy and grasp of experimental methods in the sciences 
which deal with Life. 

The list of Corresponding Members of our Society will serve to 
show that this confidence on our part is not wholly unfounded, and 
to indicate that we are not alone in maintaining that whatever may 
be the view of these perplexing problems which ultimately prevails, 
the recent advances of physiology constitute in themselves a strong 
reason — not, as some hold, for the abandonment of all discussion of 
the old enigmas, but rather for their fresh discussion with scientific 
orderliness, and in the illumination of our modern day.^ 

§ 8. From Biology we may pass, by an easy transition, to what is 
commonly kno-^ai as Anthropology, — the comparative study of the 
different races of men in respect either of their physical character- 
istics, or of the early rudiments of what afterwards develops into 

The connection of anthropology with psychical research will be 
evident to any reader who has acquainted himself with recent 
expositions of Primitive Man. He may think, indeed, that the 
connection is too evident, and that we can hardly bring it into notice 
without proving a good deal more than we desire. For as the creeds 
and customs of savage races become better known, the part played 
by sorcery, divination, apparitions becomes increasingly predominant. 

1 The French Societe de Psychologic Physiologique, whose President is M. Charcot, 
has already published several observations with an important bearing on our subject, some 
of which will be found in Vol. ii. of this work. 


Mr. Tylor and Sir John Lubbock have made this abundantly 
clear, and Mr. Spencer has gone so far as to trace all early religion 
to a fear of the ghosts of the dead. In the works of these and similar 
authors, I need hardly say, we are led to regard all these beliefs and 
tendencies as due solely to the childishness of savage man — as 
absurdities which real progress in civilisation must render increasingly 
alien to the developed common-sense, the rational experience of 
humanity. Yet it appears to me that as we trace the process of 
evolution from savage to civilised man, we come to a point at whicli 
the inadequacy of this explanation is strongly forced on our attention. 
Certainly this was my own case when I undertook some years ago to 
give a sketch of the Greek oracles. It soon became evident to me 
that the mass of phenomena included under this title had, at any rate, 
a psycho-physical importance which the existing works on the subject 
for the most part ignored. I scarcely ventured m3^self to do more 
than indicate where the real nodi of the inquiry lay. But when a 
massive treatise on Ancient Divination appeared from the learned pen 
of M. Bouche-Leclercq, I looked eagerly to see whether his erudition 
had enabled him to place these problems in a new light. I found, 
however, that he explicitly renounced all attempt to deal with the 
phenomena in more than a merely external way. He would record, 
but he would make no endeavour to explain ; — taking for granted, 
as it appeared, that the explanation depended on fraud alone, and on 
fraud whose details it would now be impossible to discover. 

I cannot think that such a view can any longer satisfy persons 
adequately acquainted with the facts of hypnotism. Whatever else, 
whether of fraud or reality, there may have been on the banks of 
Cassotis or Castaly, — unde superstitiosa priniuTn sacra evasit vox 
fera, — there were at least the hypnotic trance and hystero-epilepsy. 
And until these and similar elements can be sifted out of the records 
left to us, with something of insight gained by familiarity with their 
modern forms, our knowledge of Pythia or of Sibyl will be shallow 

Still more markedly is such insight and experience needed in 
anthropology proper — in the actual observation of the savage peoples 
who still exist. It is to be hoped that shamans and medicine-men 
will not vanish before the missionary until they have yielded some 
fuller lessons to the psycho-physicist — until the annals of the 
Salpetriere and the experiments of Dean's Yard have been invoked in 
explanation of the weird terrors of the Yenisei and the Congo. 


I 9. Passing on from Anthropology to history in its wider accepta- 
tion, we find these psycho-physical problems perpetually recurring, and 
forming a disturbing element in any theory of social or religious 
evolution. The contagious enthusiasms of the Middle Ages — the 
strange endemic maladies of witchcraft, vampirism, lycanthropy — 
even the individual inspiration of a Mahomet or a Joan of Arc — • 
these are phenomena which the professed historian feels obliged to 
leave to the physician and the alienist, and for which the physician 
and the alienist, in their turn, have seldom a satisfactory explanation. 

Nor do phenomena of this kind cease to appear with the advance 
of civilisation. In detailed modern histories, in the biographies of 
eminent men, we still come upon incidents which are, at any rate at 
first sight, of a supernormal ^ kind, and over which the narrator is 
forced to pass with vague or inadequate comment. 

But it is, of course, in dealing with the history of religions that 
our lack of any complete grasp of psychical phenomena is most 
profoundly felt. And here, also, it is as a result of recent progress, — 
of the growth of the comparative study of religions, — that we are able 
to disengage, in a generalised form, the chief problems with which our 
" psychical " science, if such could be established, would be impera- 
tively called on to deal. 

For we find throughout the world's history a series of great events 
which, though differing widely in detail, have a certain general 
resemblance both to each other and to some of those incidents both of 
savage and of ordinary civilised life to which reference has already 

been made. 

The elements which are common to the great majority of religions 
seem to be mainly two — namely, the promulgation of some doctrine 
which the religious reformer claims to have received,' or actually 
to communicate, in some supernormal manner ; and the report of a 

1 "I have ventured to coin the word 'supernormal' to be applied to phenomena 
which siTehcyond what usualli, happcns-heyond,th&t is,in the sense of suggesting unknown 
psychical laws. It is thus formed on the analogy of abnormal. When we speak of an 
abnormal phenomenon we do not mean one which contravenes natural laws, but one which 
exhibits them in an unusual or inexplicable form. Similarly by a supernormal phenomenon, 
I mean not one which overrides natural laws, for I believe no such phenomenon to exist, 
but one which exhibits the action of laws higher, in a psychical aspect, than are discerned 
in action in every-day life. By higher (either in a psychical or m a physiological sense), i 
mean 'apparently belonging to a more advanced stage of evolution. "-Proof frf.n^s of 
the S P K Vol iii p. 30. Throughout this treatise we naturally need a designation for 
phenomena which are inexplicable by recognised physiological laws, and belong to 
the general group into the nature of which we are mquinng. The term psychical 
(which is liable to misapprehension even m the title of our Society) can hardly be used 
without apology in this specialised sense. The occasional introduction of the word 
suixrnorvMl may perhaps be excused. 


concurrent manifestation of phenomena apparently inexplicable by 
ordinary laws. 

Now, with the rise of one religion our Society has already had 
practically to deal. Acting through Mr. Hodgson, whose experiences 
in the matter have been elsewhere detailed,^ a committee of the 
Society for Psychical Research has investigated the claim of the so- 
called " Theosophy," of which Madame Blavatsky was the prophetess, 
to be an incipient world-religion, corroborated by miraculous, or at 
least supernormal, phenomena, — and has arrived at the conclusion 
that it is merely a rechauffe of ancient philosophies, decked in novel 
language, and supported by ingenious fraud. Had this fraud not been 
detected and exposed, and had the system of belief supported thereon 
thriven and spread, we should have witnessed what the sceptic might 
have cited as a typical case of the origin of religions. A Gibbon of 
our own day, reviewing the different motives and tendencies which 
prompt, or spread, revelations, might have pointed to Theosophy and 
Mormonism as covering between them the whole ground ; — from the 
adroit advantage taken of mystical aspiration in the one religion, to 
the commonplace action of greed and lust upon helplessness and 
stupidity which forms the basis of the other. 

But if it should be argued from these analogies that in no case of 
the foundation of a religion would any scientific method of psychical 
inquiry prove necessary or fruitful, if we knew all the facts ; but that 
such developments might be sufficiently dealt with by ordinary 
common-sense, or, like Mormonism, by the criminal law, the 
generalisation would be hasty and premature. We need not go far 
back to discover two religions whose central fact is not a fact of fraud 
at all, but an unexplained psychical phenomenon. I allude to the 
vision-life of Swedenborg, and the speaking with tongues which 
occurred in the church of Irving, — each of which constitutes a central 
point of faith for a certain number of intelligent and educated persons 
at the present day. Of neither of these facts can Science at present 
offer a satisfactory explanation. The speaking with tongues seems 
plainly to have been for the most part (though not entirely) a 
genuine automatic phenomenon. But as to the origin of such 
automatic utterances (conveyed in speech or writing), as to the range 
from which their contents are drawn, or the kind of attention which 
they can claim, there is little or nothing to be learnt from accepted 

Proceedings of the S.P.R., Vol. iii. 


textbooks. We are groping among the first experiments, the simplest 
instances, on which any valid theory can be based.^ 

The case of Swedenborg carries us still further beyond the limits 
of our assured knowledge. Of madness and its delusions, indeed, we 
know much ; but it would be a mere abuse of language to call 
Swedenborg mad. His position must be decided by a much more 
difficult analogy. For before we can even begin to criticise his 
celestial visions we must be able in some degree to judge of his visions 
of things terrestrial ; we must face, that is to say, the whole problem 
of so-called clairvoyance, of a faculty which claims to be not merely 
receptive but active, — a projection of super-sensory percipience among 
scenes distant and things unknown. 

And the existence of such a faculty as this will assuredly never be 
proved by a mere study of the transcendental dicta of any single 
seer. This problem, too, must be approached, partly through the 
hj^Dnotic trance, in which the best-attested instances of clairvoyance are 
alleged to have occurred, and partly through the collection of such super- 
normal narratives as some of those which find place in the present book. 

Even a sketch like this may indicate how complex and various 
may be the problems which underlie that " History of Sects" in which 
a Bossuet might see only the heaven-sent penalty for apostasy against 
the Church, — a Gibbon, the mere diverting panorama of the ever- 
varying follies of men. 

§ 10. But reflections like these lie on the outskirts of a still larger 
and graver question. What (it is naturally asked) is the relation of our 
study — not to eccentric or outlying forms of religious creed — but to 
central and vital conceptions ; and especially to that main system of 
belief to which in English-speaking countries the name of religion is 
by popular usage almost confined ? 

Up till this time those who have written on behalf of the Society 
for Psychical Research have studiously refrained from entering on 
this important question. Our reason for this reticence is obvious 
enough when stated, but it has not been universally discerned. We 
wished to avoid even the semblance of attracting the public to our 
researches by any allurement which lay outside the scientific field. 
We could not take for granted that our inquiries would make for the 
spiritual view of things, that they would tend to establish even the 
independent existence, still less the immortality, of the soul. We 

^ See papers on " Automatic Writing " in Proceedings of the S.P.R., Vols. ii. and iii. 


shrank from taking advantage of men's hopes or fears, from represent- 
ing ourselves as bent on rescuing them from the materialism which 
forms so large a factor in modern thought, or from the pessimism 
which dogs its steps with unceasing persistency. We held it to be 
incumbent on us, in an especial degree, to maintain a neutral and 
expectant attitude, and to conduct our inquiries in the " dry light" of 
a dispassionate search for truth. 

And this position we still maintain. This book, as will be seen, does 
not attempt to deal with the most exciting and popular topics which 
are included in our Society's general scheme. And we shall be 
careful in the pages that follow to keep within our self-assigned 
limits, and to say little as to any light which our collected evidence 
may throw on the possibility of an existence continued after our 
physical death. 

That master-problem of human life must be assailed by more 
deliberate approaches, nor must we gild our solid arguments with the 
radiance of an unproved surmise. But it would, nevertheless, be 
impossible, in a discussion of this general kind, to pass over the 
relation of psychical research to religion altogether in silence. And, 
indeed, since our inquiries began, the situation has thus far changed 
that we have now not anticipation merely, but a certain amount of 
actual achievement, to which to appeal. We hold that we have 
proved by direct experiment, and corroborated by the narratives 
contained in this book, the possibility of communications between 
two minds, inexplicable by any recognised physical laws, but capable 
(under certain rare spontaneous conditions) of taking place when the 
persons concerned are at an indefinite distance from each other. And 
we claim further that by investigations of the higher phenomena of 
mesmerism, and of the automatic action of the mind, we have 
confirmed and expanded this view in various directions, and attained 
a standing-point from which certain even stranger alleged phenomena 
begin to assume an intelligible aspect, and to suggest further 
discoveries to come. 

Thus far the authors of this book, and also the main group of 
their fellow-workers, are substantially agreed. But their agreement 
as to the facts actually proved does not extend, — it is not even to be 
desired that it should extend,— to the speculations which in one 
direction or another such facts must inevitably suggest. They are 
facts which go too deep to find in any two minds a precisely similar 
lodgment, or to adjust themselves in the same way to the complex of 



pre-existent conceptions. The following paragraphs, therefore, must 
be taken merely as reflecting the opinions provisionally held by a 
single inquirer. 

I may say, then, at once that I consider it improbable that tele- 
pathy will ever receive a purely physical explanation, — an explanation, 
that is to say, wholly referable to the properties of matter, as 
molecular matter is at present known to us. I admit, of course, that 
such an explanation is logically conceivable ; that we can imagine 
that undulations should be propagated, or particles emitted, from one 
living organism to another, which should excite the percipient 
organism in a great variety of ways. But it seems to me, — and I 
imagine that in this view at any rate the majority of Materialists will 
concur, — that if the narratives in this book are to be taken as, on the 
whole, trustworthy, the physical analogies are too faint, and the 
physical difficulties too serious, to allow of our intruding among the 
forces of material Nature a force which — unlike any other — would 
seem (in some cases at least) neither to be diminished by any distance 
nor to be impeded by any obstacle whatsoever. 

I lay aside, for the purposes of the present argument, the possibi- 
lity of a monistic scheme of the universe, — of a consentiens 
conspirans continuata cognatio rerum which may present in an 
unbroken sequence both what we know as Matter and what we know 
as Mind. Such a view, — though to higher intelligences it may 
perhaps be an intuitive certainty, — can for us be nothing more than a 
philosophic opinion. Our scientific arguments must needs be based 
on the dualism which our intellects, as at present constituted, are in 
fact unable to transcend. 

I maintain, therefore, that if the general fact of telepathic 
communication between mind and mind be admitted, it must also be 
admitted that an element is thus introduced into our conception of 
the aggregate of empirically known facts which constitutes a serious 
obstacle to the materialistic synthesis of human experience. The 
psychical element in man, I repeat, must henceforth almost inevitably 
be conceived as having relations which cannot be expressed in terms 
of matter. 

Now this dogma, though wholly new to experimental science, is, 
of course, familiar and central in all the higher forms of religions. 
Relations inexpressible in terms of matter, and subsisting between 
spirit and Spirit, — the human and the Divine, — are implied in the very 
notion of the interchange of sacred love and love, of grace and 


worship. I need hardly add that the reality of any such communion 
is rigidly excluded by the materialistic view. The Materialist, indeed, 
may regard prayer and aspiration with indulgence, or even with 
approval, but he must necessarily conceive them as forming merely 
the psychical side of certain molecular movements of the particles of 
human organisms, and he must necessarily regard the notion of 
Divine response to prayer as an illusion generated by subsequent 
molecular movements of the same organisms, — the mere recoil and 
reflux of the wave which the worshipper himself has created. 

It would, of course, be mere offensive presumption to draw a 
parallel between our telepathic experiments and such a relation be- 
tween a human and Divine spirit as the devout soul believes itself 
to realise in prayer. One side of that communion must ex hypothesi 
transcend the measurement or analysis of finite minds. But, confining 
our view wholly to the part played by the human organism, it seems 
to me incontestable that our experiments suggest possibilities of 
influence, modes of operation, which throw an entirely fresh light on 
this ancient controversy between Science and Faith. I claim 
at least that any presumption which science had established 
against the possibility of spiritual communion is now rebutted; 
and that inasmuch as it can no longer be affirmed that our minds 
are closed to all influences save such as reach them through sensory 
avenues, the Materialist must admit that it is no longer an un- 
supported dream but a serious scientific possibility, that if any 
intelligences do in fact exist other than those of living men, influences 
from those intelligences may be conveyed to our own mind, and may 
either remain below the threshold of consciousness, or rise into 
definite consciousness, according as the presence or absence of 
competing stimuli, or other causes as yet unknown to us, may 

§ 11. I shall leave this proposition expressed thus in its most 
abstract and general form. And I may add — it is a reflection which 
I must ask the reader to keep steadily in mind, — that any support or 
illumination which religious creeds may gain from psychical inquiry 
is likely to affect not their clauses but their preamble ; is likely to 
come, not as a sudden discovery bearing directly on some specific 
doffma, but as the gradual discernment of laws which may funda- 
mentally modify the attitude of thoughtful minds. 

Now, in what I have called the preamble of all revelations two 

d 2 


theses are generally involved, quite apart from the subject-matter, 
or the Divine sanction, of the revelation itself. We have to assume, 
first, that human testimony to supernormal facts may be trustworthy ; 
and secondly, that there is something in the nature of man which 
is capable of responding to — I may say of participating in — these 
supernormal occurrences. That is to say, revelations are not proved 
merely by large external facts, perceptible to every one who possesses 
the ordinary senses, nor again are they proved solely by what are 
avowedly mere subjective impressions, but they are largely supported 
by a class of phenomena which comes between these two extremes ; 
by powers inherent in certain individuals of beholding spiritual 
visions or personages unseen by common eyes, of receiving information 
or guidance by interior channels, of uttering truths not consciously 
acquired, of healing sick persons by the imposition of hands, with 
other faculties of a similarly supernormal kind. 

And I hope that I shall not be thought presumptuous or irreverent 
if (while carefully abstaining from direct comment on any Revelation) 
I indicate what, in my view, would be the inevitable effect on the 
attitude of purely scientific minds towards these preliminary theses, — 
this 'preaimhle, as I have said, of definite religions, — were the con- 
tinued prosecution of our inquiry to lead us after all to entirely 
negative conclusions, were all our evidence to prove untrustworthy, 
and all our experiments unsound. 

For in the first place it is plain that this new science of which we 
are endeavouring to lay the foundations stands towards religion in a 
very different position from that occupied by the rising sciences, such 
as geology or biology, whose conflict or agreement with natural or 
revealed religion has furnished matter for so much debate. The 
discoveries of those sciences can scarcely in themselves add support to 
a doctrine of man's soul and immortality, though they may 
conceivably come into collision with particular forms which that 
doctrine has assumed. Religion, in short, may be able to assimilate 
them, but it would in no way have suffered had they proved alto- 
gether abortive. 

But with our study the case is very different. For, to take the 
first of the two preliminary theses of religion already referred to, 
the question whether human evidence as to supernormal occurrences 
can ever be trusted has been raised by our inquiries in a much more 
crucial form than when Hume and Paley debated it with reference to 
historical incidents only. We discuss it with reference to alleged 


contemporary incidents ; we endeavour to evaluate by actual 
inspection and cross-examination the part which is played in super- 
normal narratives by the mere love of wonder, " the mythopoeic 
faculty," the habitual negligence and ignorance of mankind. And if 
all the evidence offered to us should crumble away on exact 
investigation — as, for instance, the loudly-vaunted evidence for the 
marvels connected with Theosophy has crumbled — it will no doubt 
be questioned whether the narratives on which the historic religions 
depend for their acceptance could have stood the test of a con- 
temporaneous inquiry of a similarly searching kind. 

And more than this, it will not only be maintained that the 
collapse of our modern evidence to supernormal phenomena discredits 
all earlier records of the same kind by showing the ease with which 
such marvels are feigned or imagined, but also that it further 
discredits those records by making them even more antecedently 
improbable than they were before. Not only will it be said that 
the proved fallibility of the modern witnesses illustrates the probable 
fallibility of the ancient ones, but the failure of the inquiry to elicit 
any indication that supernormal faculties do now exist in man will 
pro tanto throw a retrospective improbability on the second of the 
preliminary theses of religion, which assumes that some such 
supernormal faculty did at any rate exist in man at a given epoch. 
It may indeed be urged that such faculties were given for a time, and 
for a purpose, and were then withdrawn. But the instinct of scientific 
continuity, which even in the shaping of the solid continents is fain 
to substitute for deluge and cataclysm the tideway and the ripple and 
the rain, will rebel against the hypothesis of a bygone age of inward 
miracles, — a catastrophic interference with the intimate nature of man. 

I will illustrate my meaning by a concrete example, which does 
not involve any actual article of Protestant faith. The ecstacy and 
the stigmata of St. Francis are an important element in Roman 
Catholic tradition. They are to some extent paralleled in the present 
day by the ecstacy and the stigmata of Louise Lateau. And Catholic 
instinct has discerned that if this modern case be decided to be 
merely Tnorhid, and in no true sense supernormal, a retrospective 
discredit will be cast on the earlier legend. The old reluctance of 
the Catholic Church to submit her phenomena to scientific assessors 
has therefore to some extent been overcome ; and Catholic physicians, 
under ecclesiastical authority, have discussed Louise Lateau's case in 
the forms of an ordinary medical report. 


Enough will have been said to indicate the reality of the 
connection between our inquiries and the preliminary theses of 
religion. And so far as our positive results go in this direction, they 
will perhaps carry the more weight in that they are independently 
obtained, and intended to subserve scientific rather than religious 
ends ; — coming, indeed, from men who have no developed theory of 
their own to offer, and are merely following the observed facts 
wherever they may seem to lead. I see no probability, I may add, 
that our results can ever supply a convincing proof to any specialised 
form of religion. The utmost that I anticipate is, that they may 
afford a solid basis of general evidence to the independence of 
man's spiritual nature, and its persistence after death, on which 
basis, at any rate, religions in their specialised forms may be at one 
with science, and on which the structure of definite revelation 
(which must be up-built by historical or moral arguments) may 
conceivably be planted with a firmness which is at present necessarily 

§ 12. I have been speaking thus far of religion in its full sense, as 
a body of doctrine containing some kind of definite assurance as to an 
unseen world. But the form of religious thought which specially 
characterises our own day is somewhat different from this. We are 
accustomed rather to varying attempts to retain the spirit, the aroma 
of religion, even if its solid substratum of facts previously supposed 
provable should have to be abandoned. The discoursers on things 
spiritual who have been most listened to in our own day — as Carlyle, 
Emerson, Mazzini, Renan, Tennyson, Matthew Arnold, Ruskin, &c., — 
have been to a very small extent dogmatic on the old lines. They 
have expressed vague, though lofty, beliefs and aspirations, in which 
the eye of science may perhaps see little substance or validity, but 
which nevertheless have been in a certain sense more independent, 
more spontaneous, than of old, since they are less often prompted by 
any faith instilled from without, and resemble rather the awakening 
into fuller consciousness of some inherited and instinctive need. 

And this brings us by an easy transition to the next topic, on 
which I wish to dwell. For I wish to point out that the emotional 
creed of educated men is becoming divorced from their scientific 
creed ; that just as the old orthodoxy of religion was too narrow to 
contain men's knowledge, so now the new orthodoxy of materialistic 
science is too narrow to contain their feelings and aspirations ; and 


consequently that just as the fabric of religious orthodoxy used to be 
strained in order to admit the discoveries of geology or astronomy, so 
now also the obvious deductions of materialistic science are strained 
or overpassed in order to give sanction to feelings and aspirations 
which it is found impossible to ignore. My inference will, of course, 
be that in this vaguer realm of thought, as well as in the more 
distinctly-defined branches of knowledge which we have already 
discussed, the time is ripe for some such extension of scientific 
knowledge as we claim that we are offering here — an extension which, 
in my view, lifts us above the materialistic standpoint altogether, and 
which gives at least a possible reality to those subtle intercommuni- 
cations between spirit and spirit, and even between visible and 
invisible things, of which Art and Literature are still as full as in 
any "Age of Faith " which preceded us. 

I point, then, to the obvious fact that the spread of Materialism 
has not called into being Materialists only of those simple types which 
were commonly anticipated a century since as likely to fill a world of 
complete secularity. 

Materialists, indeed, of that old unflinching temper do exist, and 
form a powerful and influential body. It would have been strange, 
indeed, if recent advances in physiology had not evoked new theories 
of human life, and a new ideal. For the accepted commonplaces of the 
old-fashioned moralist are being scattered with a ruthless hand. Our 
free will, over great portions at least of its once supposed extent, is 
declared to be an illusion. Our highest and most complex emotions 
are traced to their rudimentary beginnings in the instincts of self- 
preservation and reproduction. Our vaunted personality itself is 
seen to depend on a shifting and unstable synergy of a number of 
nervous centres, the defect of a portion of which centres may alter 
our character altogether. And meantime Death, on the other hand, 
has lost none of its invincible terrors. The easy way in which our 
forefathers would speak of " our mortal and immortal parts " is hard 
to imitate in face of the accumulating testimony to the existence of 
the one element in us, and the evanescence of the other. And since 
the decay and dissolution of man seem now to many minds to be so 
much more capable of being truly known than his survival or his 
further evolution, it is natural that much of the weight which once 
belonged to the prophets of what man hoped should pass to those 
who can speak with authority on what man needs must fear. Thus 
" mad-doctors " tend to supplant theologians, and the lives of 


lunatics are found to have more lessons for us than the lives of saints. 
For these thinkers know well that man can fall helow himself; but that 
he can rise above himself they can believe no more. A corresponding 
ideal is gradually created ; an ideal of mere sanity and normality, 
which gets to look on any excessive emotion or fixed idea, any 
departure from a balanced practicality, with distrust or disfavour, 
and sometimes rising to a kind of fervour of Philistinism, classes 
genius itself as a neiirosis. 

The alienists who have taken this extreme view have usually, 
perhaps, been of opinion that in thus discrediting the higher flights of 
imagination or sentiment we are not losing much ; that these things 
are in any case a mere surplusage, and that the ends which life is 
really capable of attaining can be compassed as well without them. 
But if the materialistic theory be the true one, these limitations of ideal 
might well be adopted even by men who would deeply regret what 
they were thus renouncing. It might well seem that, in abandoning 
the belief in any spiritual or permanent element in man, it were wise 
to abandon also that intensity of the affections which is ill-adapted 
to bonds so perishable and insecure, that reach of imagination which 
befitted only the illusory dignity which was once attached to 
human fates. 

But in fact, as I have already implied, the characteristic movement 
of our own country, at any rate, at the present day, is hardly in this 
direction. Our prevalent temper is not so much materialistic as 
agnostic ; and although this renouncement of all knowledge of 
invisible things does in a sense leave visible things in sole possession 
of the field, yet the Agnostic is as far as anyone from being " a hog 
from Epicurus' sty." Rather, instead of sinking into the materialistic 
ideal of plain sense and physical well-being, the rising schools of 
thought are transcending that ideal more and more. Altruism in 
morals, idealism in art, nay, even the sentiment of piety itself, as a 
decorative grace of life, — all these, it is urged, are consistent with a 
complete and contented ignorance as to aught beyond the material 

I need not here embark on the controversy as to how far this 
aspiration towards " the things of the spirit " is logically consistent 
with a creed that stops short with the things of sense. It is quite 
enough for my present purpose to point out that here also, as in the 
case of more definite religions, we have a system of beliefs and emotions 
which may indeed be able to accommodate themselves to modem 


science, but which are in no sense HUpporied thereby ; rather which 

science must regard as, at best, a kind of phosphorescence which plays 

harmlessly about minds that Nature has developed by other processes 

and for other ends than these. 

For my argument is that here again, as in the case of religion, 

telepathy, as we affirm it in this book, would be the first indication 

of a possible scientific basis for much that now lacks not only 

experimental confirmation, but even plausible analogy. We have seen 

how much support the preliminary theses of religion may acquire from 

an assured conviction that the human mind is at least capable of 

receiving supernormal influences, — is not closed, by its very structure, 

as the Materialists would tell us, to any " inbreathings of the spirit " 

which do not appeal to outward eye or ear. And somewhat similar is 

the added reality which the discover}?- of telepathy gives to the higher 

flights, the subtler shades, of mere earthly emotion. 

' ' Star to star vibrates light ; may soul to soul 
Strike thro' some finer element of her own ?" 

The lover, the poet, the enthusiast in any generous cause, has in 
every age unconsciously answered Lord Tennyson's question for 
himself. To some men, as to Goethe, the assurance of this subtle 
intercommunication has come with vivid distinctness in some passion- 
shaken hour. Others, as Bacon, have seemed to gather it from the 
imperceptible indicia of a lifelong contemplation of man. But the 
step which actual experimentation, the actual collection and collation 
of evidence, has now, as we believe, effected, is a greater one than could 
have been achieved by any individual intuition of bard or sage. For 
we have for the first time a firm foothold in this impalpable realm ; 
we know that these unuttered messages do truly travel, that these 
emotions mix and spread ; and though we refrain as yet from further 
dwelling on the corollaries of this far-reaching law, it is not because 
such speculations need any longer be baseless, but because we desire 
to set forth the proof of our theorem in full detail before we do more 
than hint at the new fields which it opens to human thought. 

§ 13. Pausing, therefore, on the threshold of these vaguer promises, 
I may indicate another direction, in which few will deny that a 
systematic investigation like ours ought to produce results eminently 
salutary. It ought to be as much our business to check the growth 
of error as to promote the discovery of truth. And there is 
plenty of evidence to show that so long as we omit to subject all 
alleged supernormal phenomena to a thorough comparative scrutiny, 


we are not merely postponing a possible gain, but permitting an 
unquestioned evil. 

It should surely be needless in the present day to point out that 
no attempt to discourage inquiry into any given subject which 
strongly interests mankind, will in reality divert attention from the 
topic thus tabooed. The savant or the preacher may influence 
the readers of scientific hand-books, or the members of church 
congregations, but outside that circle the subject will be pursued 
with the more excited eagerness because regulating knowledge and 
experienced guidance are withdrawn. 

And thus it has been with our supernormal phenomena. The 
men who claim to have experienced them have not been content to 
dismiss them as unseasonable or unimportant. They have not 
relegated them into the background of their lives as readily as the 
physiologist has relegated them into a few paragraphs at the end of a 
chapter. On the contrary, they have brooded over them, distorted 
them, misinterpreted them. Where savants have minimised, they 
have magnified, and the perplexing modes of marvel which the text- 
books ignore, have become, as it were, the ganglia from which all 
kinds of strange opinions ramify and spread. 

The number of persons whose minds have been actually upset 
either by genuine psychical phenomena, or by their fraudulent 
imitation, is perhaps not large. But the mischief done is by no 
means confined to these extreme cases. It is mischievous, surely — 
it clashes roughly with our respect for human reason, and our belief 
in human progress — that religions should spring up, forms of worship 
be established, which in effect do but perpetuate a mistake and 
consecrate a misapprehension, which carry men not forward, but 
backward in their conception of unseen things. 

The time- has not yet come for an attempt to trace in detail the 
perversion which each branch of these supernormal phenomena has 
undergone in ardent minds; — the claims to sanctity, revelation, 
prophecy, which a series of enthusiasts, and of charlatans, have based 
on each class of marvels in turn. But two forms of creed already 
mentioned may again be cited as convenient examples — the Irvingite 
faith of the misinterpretation of autoriiatism, the Swedenborgian of 
the misinterpretation of (so-called) clairvoyance. Still more singular 
have been the resultant beliefs when to the assemblage of purely 
psychical marvels a physical ingredient has been added, of a more 
disputable kind. For linked in various ways with records of 


automatic cerebration, of apparitions, of vision and revelation, come 
accounts of objective sounds, of measurable movements, which may 
well seem an unwarrantable intrusion into the. steady order of the 
ponderable world. And in the year 1848 certain events, whose 
precise nature is still in dispute, occurred in America, in conse- 
quence of which many persons were led to believe that under appro- 
priate circumstances these sounds, these movements, these tangible 
apparitions, could be evoked or reproduced at will. On this basis the 
creed of " Modern Spiritualism " has been upbuilt. And here arises 
the pressing question — notoriously still undecided, difficult and 
complex beyond any anticipation — as to whether supernormal 
phenomena of this physical kind do in fact occur at all ; or whether 
they are in all cases — as they undoubtedly have been in many cases 
— the product of mere fraud or delusion. This question, as it seems to 
us, is one to which we are bound to give our most careful attention ; 
and if we have as yet failed to attain a decisive view, it is not for 
want of laborious observation, continued by several of us throughout 
many years. But we are unwilling to pronounce until we have had 
ample opportunities — opportunities which so far we have for the 
most part sought in vain — of investigating phenomena obtained 
through private sources, and free, at any rate, from the specific 
suspicion to which the presence of a " paid medium " inevitably gives 

I need not add further illustrations of the cautionary, the critical 
attitude which befits such a Society as ours at the present juncture. 
This attitude is in one way unavoidably ungracious ; for it has 
sometimes precluded us from availing ourselves of the labours of 
predecessors whose zeal and industry we should have been glad to 
praise. The time, we hope, will come when enough of daylight shall 
shine upon our path to make possible a discriminating survey of the 
tracks which scattered seekers have struck out for themselves in the 
confusion and dimness of dawn. At present we have mainly to take 
heed that our own groping course shall at least avoid the pitfalls into 
which others have fallen. Anything like a distribution of awards of 
merit would be obviously premature on the part of men whose best 
hope must be that they may conduct the inquiry into a road firm 
enough to enable others rapidly to outstrip them. 



§ 14. Enough, however, has now been said to indicate the general 
tenor of the task which the Society for Psychical Research has under- 
taken. It remains to indicate the place which the present work 
occupies in the allotted field, and the reasons for offering it to public 
consideration at this early stage of our inquiry. 

We could not, of course, predict or pre-arrange the order in which 
opportunities of successful investigation might occur to the searchers 
in this labyrinth of the unknown. Among the groping experiments 
which seemed to have only too often led to mere mistake and con- 
fusion, — the " thousand pathways " 

" qua signa sequendi 

Falleret indeprensus et inremeabilis error," — 

it was not easy to choose with confidence our adit of exploration. 

The approach which proved most quickly productive was one from 

which it might have seemed that there was little indeed to hope. A 

kind of drawing-room game sprang up — it is hard to say whence — a 

method of directing a subject to perform a desired act by a contact so 

slight that no conscious impulsion was either received or given. 

Careful observers soon ranked the "willing-game" as an illustration of 

involuntary muscular action on the willer's part, affording a guidance 

to which the subject yielded sometimes without being aware of it. 

But while the modus operandi of public exhibitions of this misnamed 

" thought-reading " was not difficult to detect, Professor Barrett was 

one of the first who — while recognising all these sources of error — 

urged the duty of persistent watching for any residuum of true 

thought-transference which might from time to time appear. As 

will be seen from Chap. II. of this book it was not till after some 

six years of inquiry and experiment (1876-82) that definite proof of 

thought-transference in the normal state could be placed before the 

world. This was done in an article in the Nineteenth Century for 

June, 1882, signed by Professor Barrett, Mr. Gurney, and myself. 

The phenomenon of transmission of thought or sensation without 

the agency of the recognised organs of sense had been previously 

recorded in connection with the mesmeric state, but, so far as we 

know, its occasional occurrence in the normal state was now for the 

first time maintained on the strength of definite experiment. And 

the four years 1882-1886 have witnessed a great extension of those 

experiments, which no longer rest on the integrity and capacity of the 

earliest group of observers alone. 


§ 15. The foundation of the Society for Psychical Research in 
1882 gave an opportunity to Mr. Gurney and myself, as Hon. Sees, of 
a Literary Committee, to invite from the general public records of 
apparitions at or after death, and other abnormal occurrences. On 
reviewing the evidence thus obtained we were struck with the great 
predominance of alleged apparitions at or near the moment of 
death. And a new light seemed to be thrown on these phenomena 
by the unexpected frequency of accounts of apparitions of living 
persons, coincident with moments of danger or crisis. We were led 
to infer a strong analogy between our experimental cases of 
thought-transference and some of these spontaneous cases of what 
we call telepathy, or transference of a shock or impulse from one living 
person to another person at such a distance or under such conditions 
as to negative the possibility of any ordinary mode of transmission. 
An article, signed by Mr. Gurney and myself, in the Fortnightly 
Review for March, 1883, gave a first expression to the analogy 
thus suggested. The task of collection and scrutiny grew on our 
hands ; Mr. Podmore undertook to share our labours ; and the Council 
of the Society for Psychical Research requested us to embody the 
evidence received in a substantive work. 

It will be seen, then, that the theory of Telepathy, experimental 
and spontaneous, which forms the main topic of this book, was not 
chosen as our theme by any arbitrary process of selection, but was 
irresistibly suggested by the abundance and the convergence of 
evidence tending to prove that special thesis. We were, and are, 
equally anxious to inquire into many other alleged marvels — clair- 
voyance, haunted houses. Spiritualistic phenomena, &c. — but telepathy 
is the subject which has first shown itself capable of investigation 
appearing to lead to a positive result ; and it seemed well to arrange 
its evidence with sufficient fulness to afford at least a solid ground- 
work for further inquiry. 

And having been led to this choice by the nature of the actual 
evidence before us, we may recognise that there is some propriety in 
dealing first with an issue which, complex though it is, is yet simple 
as compared to other articles of our programme. For the fact, if 
it be one, of the direct action of mind upon mind has at least 
a generality which makes it possible that, like the law of atomic 
combination in chemistry, it may be a generalisation which, though 
grasped at first in a very simplified and imj)erfect fashion, may 
prove to have been the essential pre-requisite of future progress. 


§ 16. In a certain sense it may be said that this hidden action of 
one mind on another comes next in order of psychical discovery to the 
hidden action of the mind within itself. It will be remembered that 
the earliest scientific attempts to explain the phenomena of so-called 
Spiritualism referred them mainly to " unconscious cerebration," 
(Carpenter,) or to what was virtually the same thing, " unconscious 
muscular action " (Faraday). 

Now these theories, in my view, were, so far as they went, not 
only legitimate, but the most logical which could have been suggested 
to explain the scanty evidence with which alone Faraday and 
Carpenter attempted to deal. This unconscious action of the mind 
was in reality the first thing which it was needful to take into 
account in approaching supernormal phenomena. I believe, indeed, 
that our knowledge of those hidden processes of mentation is still in 
its infancy, and I have elsewhere endeavoured to assign a wider range 
than orthodox science has yet admitted to the mind's imconscious 
operation.^ But the result of this further analysis has been (as I 
hold) not to show that ordinary physiological considerations will 
suffice (as Dr. Carpenter seems to suppose) to explain all the psychical 
problems involved, but rather to reveal the fact that these uncon- 
scious operations of the mind do not follow the familiar channels 
alone, but are themselves the facilitation or the starting-point of 
operations which to science are wholly new. 

To state the matter broadly, so as to include in a common formula 
the unremembered utterances of the hypnotic subject, and the 
involuntary writings of the waking automatist, I would maintain that 
when the horizon of consciousness is altered, the opening field of view 
is not always or wholly filled by a mere mirage or refraction of 
objects already familiar, but does, on rare occasions, include new 
objects, as real as the old. And amongst the novel energies thus 
liberated, the power of entering into direct communication with other 
intelligences seems to stand plainly forth. Among the objects in the 
new prospect are fragments of the thoughts and feelings of distant 
minds. It seems, at any rate, that some element of telepathy is 
perpetually meeting us throughout the whole range of these inquiries. 
In the first place, thought-transference is the only supernormal 
phenomenon which we have as yet acquired the power of inducing, 
even occasionally, in the normal state. It meets us also in the 

1 See Proceedings of the S.P.R., Vols. ii. and iii. 


hypnotic trance, under the various forms of "community of sensation," 
" silent willing," and the like. Among the alleged cases of " mes- 
meric clairvoyance " the communication of pictures of places from 
operator to subject seems the least uncertain ground. And again, 
among phenomena commonly attributed to " spirits," (but manv of 
which may perhaps be more safely ascribed to the automatic agency 
of the sensitive himself,) communication of thought still furnishes our 
best clue to "trance-speaking," " clairvoyant vision," answers to mental 
questions and the like. It need not, therefore, surprise us if, even in 
a field so apparently remote from all ordinary analogies as that of 
apparitions and death-wraiths, we still find that telepathy affords our 
most satisfactory clue. 

§ 17. And here would seem to be the fitting place to explain 
why we have given the title of " Phantasms of the Living " to a 
group of records most of which will present themselves to the 
ordinary reader as narratives of apparitions of the dead. 

When we began, in a manner to be presently described, to 
collect accounts of experiences which our informants regarded as 
inexplicable by ordinary laws, we were of course ignorant as to what 
forms these experiences would mainly take. But after printing and 
considering over two thousand depositions which seemed prima facie 
to deserve attention, we find that more than half of them are 
narratives of appearances or other impressions coincident either with 
the death of the person seen or with some critical moment in his life- 

The value of the accounts of apparitions after death is lessened, 
moreover, by a consideration which is obvious enough as soon as these 
narratives come to be critically considered. The difficulty in dealing 
with all these hallucinations — with all appearances to which no 
persistent three-dimensional reality corresponds — is to determine 
whether they are veridical, or truth-telling — whether, that is, they 
do in fact correspond to some action which is going on in some 
other place or on some other plane of being • — or whether, on the 
other hand, they are merely morbid or casual — the random and 
meaningless fictions of an over-stimulated eye or brain. Now, in 
the case of apparitions at the moment of death or crisis, we have at 
any rate an objective fact to look to. If we can prove that a great 
number of apparitions coincide with the death of the person seen, we 
may fairly say, as we do say, that chance alone cannot explain this 


coincidence, and that there is a causal connection between the two 
events. But if I have a vision of a friend recently dead, and on 
whom my thoughts have been dwelling, we cannot be sure that this 
may not be a merely delusive hallucination— the mere offspring of 
my own brooding sorrow. In order to get at all nearly the same 
degree of evidence for a dead person's appearance that we can get 
for a dying person's appearance, it seems necessary that the 
apparition should either communicate some fact known only to the 
deceased, or should be noted independently by more than one person 
at once or successively. And our evidence of this kind is at present 
scarcely sufficient to support any assured conclusion.^ 

When, therefore, we are considering whether the phantasms of 
dying persons may most fitly be considered as phantasms of the dead 
or of the living, we find little support from analogy on the side of 
posthumous apparitions. And on the other hand, as already hinted, 
we have many cases where the apparition has coincided with violent 
shocks, — carriage accidents, fainting fits, epileptic fits, &c., which 
nevertheless left the agent, — as we call the person whose semblance 
is seen, — as much alive as before. In some cases the accident is 
almost a fatal one ; as when a man's phantom is seen at the moment 
when he is half-drowned and insensible. In such a case it would 
seem illogical to allow the mere fact of his restoration or non-restora- 
tion to life to rank his phantom as that of a living person in the one 
case, of a dead person in the other. It seems simpler to suppose that 
if two men fall overboard to-day and their respective phantoms are 
seen by their friends at the moment, — then, though one man should 
be restored to life and the other not, — yet if the first phantom was 
that of a living man, so also was the second. 

Nay more, even if the apparition be seen some hours later than 
the moment of apparent death, there are still reasons which prevent 
us from decisively classing it as the apparition of a dead man. In 
the first place, the moment of actual death is a very uncertain thing. 
When the heart's action stops the organism continues for some time 
in a state very different from that of ordinary inanimate matter. In 
such an inquiry as ours it is safer to speak, not of death, but of " the 
process of dissolution," and to allow for the possible prolongation of 
some form of psychical energy even when, for instance, the attempt to 
restore respiration to a drowned man has definitely failed. And in 

1 See Mrs. Sidgwick's paper on " The Evidence, collected by the Society, for 
Phantasms of the Dead," in Proceedings of the S.P.R., Vol. iii. 


the second place, we find in the case of phantasms corresponding to 
some accident or crisis which befalls a living friend, that there seems 
often to be a latent period before the phantasm becomes definite or 
externalised to the percipient's eye or ear. Sometimes a vague 
malaise seems first to be generated, and then when other stimuli are 
deadened, — as at night or in some period of repose, — the indefinite 
grief or uneasiness takes shape in the voice or figure of the friend 
who in fact passed through his moment of peril some hours before. 
It is quite possible that a deferment of this kind may sometimes 
intervene between the moment of death and the phantasmal 
announcement thereof to a distant friend. 

These, then, are reasons, suggested by actual experience, for 
ascribing our phantasms at death to living rather than to dead men. 
And there is another consideration, of a more general order, which 
points in the same direction. We must not rashly multiply the 
problems involved in this difficult inquiry. Now Science, it is 
needless to say, offers no assurance that man survives the tomb ; and 
although in Christian countries our survival is an established doctrine, 
this does not carry with it any dogma as to the possibility that 
communications should reach us from departed spirits. The 
hypothesis, then, that apparitions are ever directly caused by dead 
persons is one which ordinary scientific caution bids us to be very 
slow in introducing. Should it afterwards be established that 
departed spirits can communicate with us, the interpretation placed 
upon various cases contained in these volumes may need revision. 
But for the present it is certainly safer to inquire how far they can be 
explained by the influences or impressions which, as we know by 
actual experiment, living persons can under certain circumstances 
exert or effect on one another, in those obscure supersensory modes 
which we have provisionally massed together under the title of 

§ 18. The main theses of this book, then, are now capable of 
being stated in a very simple form. 

I. Experiment proves that telepathy — the supersensory ^ trans- 
ference of thoughts and feelings from one mind to another, — is a 
fact in Nature. 

* By "supersensory"! mean "independent of the recognised channels of sense." 
I do not mean to assert that telepathic perception either is or is not analogous to sensory 
perception of the recognised kinds. 


II. Testimony proves that phantasms (impressions, voices, or 
figures) of persons undergoing some crisis, — especially death, — are 
perceived by their friends and relatives with a frequency which mere 
chance cannot explain. 

III. These phantasms then, whatever else they may be, are 
instances of the supersensory action of one mind on another. The 
second thesis therefore confirms, and is confirmed by, the first. For 
if telepathy exists, we should anticipate that it would exhibit some 
spontaneous manifestations, on a scale more striking than our 
experimental ones. And, on the other hand, apparitions are 
rendered more credible and comprehensible by an analogy which for 
the first time links them with the results of actual experiment. 

Such arc the central theses of this work, — theses on which its 
authors, and the friends whom they have mainly consulted, are 
in entire agreement. The first thesis may, of course, be impugned 
by urging that our experiments are fallacious. The second thesis 
may be impugned by urging that our testimony is insufficient. 
The third thesis, as I have here worded it, is hardly open to separate 
attack ; being a corollary which readily follows if the first two 
theses are taken as proved. 

This, however, is only the case so long as the third thesis, 
which asserts the analogy between thought-transference and appari- 
tions — between experimental and spontaneous telepathy — is stated 
in a vague and general form. So soon as we attempt to give more 
precision to this analogy — to discuss how far the unknown agency at 
work can be supposed to be the same in both cases — or how far the 
apparitions may be referable to quite other, though cognate, laws, — we 
enter on a field where even those who have accepted the analogy in 
general terms are likely to find the evidence leading them to some- 
what divergent conclusions. Of two men independently studying our 
records of apparitions, the one will almost inevitably press their 
analogy to simple telepathy further than the other. And each will be 
able to plead that he has been guided as far as possible by an instinct 
of scientific caution in thus judging of matters strange and new. The 
first will say that " causes are not to be multiplied without necessity," 
and that we have now in telepathy a vera causa whose furthest 
possibilities we ought to exhaust before invoking still stranger, still 
remoter agencies, whose very existence we are not in a position to 
prove. He will feel bound therefore to dwell on the Doints on which 
our knowledge either of telepathy, or of the mechanism of hallucina- 


tions in general, throws some light ; and he will set aside as at 
present inexplicable such peculiarities of our evidence as cannot well 
be brought within this scheme. 

The second inquirer, on the other hand, will perhaps feel strongly 
that telepathy, as we now know it, is probably little more than a 
mere preliminary conception, a simplified mode of representing to 
ourselves a group of phenomena which, as involving relations between 
minds, may probably be more complex than those which involve even 
the highest known forms of matter. He will feel that, while we hold 
one clue alone, we must be careful not to overrate its efficacy ; we 
must be on the watch for other approaches, for hints of inter-relation 
between disparate and scattered phenomena. 

It is to the first of these two attitudes of mind, — the attitude 
which deprecates extraneous theorising, — that Mr. Gurney and 
Mr. Podmore have inclined ; and the committal of the bulk of this 
work to Mr. Gurney's execution indicates not only that he has been 
able to devote the greatest amount of time and energy to the task, 
but also that his view is on the whole the most nearly central among 
the opinions which we have felt it incumbent on us to consult. We 
have no wish,however, to affect a closer agreement than actually exists; 
and in a "Note on a Suggested Mode of Psychical Interaction," which 
will be found in Vol. II., I shall submit a view which differs from Mr. 
Gurney's on some theoretical points. 

§ 19. The theories contained in this book, however, bear a small 
proportion to the mass of collected facts. A few words as to our 
method of collection may here precede Mr. Gurney's full discussion 
(Chapter IV.) of the peculiar difficulties to which our evidence 
is exposed. 

It soon became evident that if our collection was to be satis- 
factory it must consist mainly of cases collected by ourselves, and of a 
great number of such cases. The apparitions at death, &c., recorded by 
previous writers, are enough, indeed, to show that scattered incidents 
of the kind have obtained credence in many ages and countries. But 
they have never been collected and sifted with any sj^stematic care ; 
and few of them reach an evidential standard which could justify us 
in laying them before our readers. And even had the existing stock 
of testimony been large and well-assured, it would still have been 
needful for us to collect our own specimens in situ, — to see, talk 
with, and correspond with the persons to whose strange experiences 

e 2 


so much weight was to be given. This task of personal inquiry, — 
whose traces will, we hope, be sufficiently apparent throughout the 
present work,— has stretched itself out beyond expectation, but has 
also enabled us to speak with a confidence which could not have been 
otherwise acquired. One of its advantages is the security thus 
gained as to the bona fides of the witnesses concerned. They have 
practically placed themselves upon their honour; nor need we doubt 
that the experiences have been, as a rule, recounted in all 
sincerity. As to unintentional errors of observation and memory, 
Mr. Gumey's discussion will at least show that we have had abundant 
opportunities of learning how wide a margin must be left for 
human carelessness, forgetfulness, credulity. " God forbid," said the 
flute-player to Philip of Macedon, " that your Majesty should know 
these things as well as I !" 

It must not, however, be inferred from what has been said that 
our informants as a body have shown themselves less shrewd or less 
accurate than the generality of mankind. On the contrary, we have 
observed with pleasure that our somewhat persistent and probing 
method of inquiry has usually repelled the sentimental or crazy 
wonder-mongers who hang about the outskirts of such a subject as 
this ; while it has met with cordial response from an unexpected 
number of persons who feel with reason that the very mystery which 
surrounds these incidents makes it additionally important that they 
should be recounted with sobriety and care. The straightforward 
style in which most of our informants have couched their narratives, as 
well as the honoured names which some of them bear, may enable 
the reader to share something of the confidence which a closer contact 
with the facts has inspired in our own minds. 

Again, it seemed necessary that the collection offered to the 
public should be a very large one, even at the cost of including in a 
Supplement some remote or second-hand cases besides the first-hand 
cases which alone are admitted into the chapters of this book. If, 
indeed, our object had been simply to make out a case for the 
connection of deaths with apparitions, we might have offered a less 
assailable front, and should certainly have spared ourselves much 
trouble, had we confined ourselves to giving in detail a few of 
the best-attested instances. But what we desired was not precisely 
this. We hope, no doubt, that most of our readers may ultimately 
be led to conclusions resembling our own. But before our con- 
clusions can expect to gain general acceptance, many other 


hypotheses will doubtless be advanced, and coincidence, superstition, 
fraud, hysteria, will be invoked in various combinations to explain 
the evidence given here. We think, therefore, that it is our duty in 
so new a subject to afford full material for hypotheses discordant 
with our own; to set forth cases drawn from so wide a range of 
society, and embracing such a variety of circumstances, as to afford 
scope for every mode of origination or development of these narratives 
which the critic may suggest. 

Furthermore, the whole subject of hallucinations of the sane — 
which hitherto has received very scanty treatment — seems fairly 
to belong to our subject, and has been treated by Mr. Gumey in 
Chap. XI. We have throughout contended that a knowledge 
of abnormal or merely morbid phenomena is an indispensable 
pre-requisite for the treating of any supernormal operations 
which may be found to exist under somewhat similar forms of 

Once more, it was plainly desirable to inquire whether hypotheses, 
now admitted to be erroneous, had ever been based in past times on 
evidence in any way comparable to that which we have adduced. The 
belief in witchcraft, from its wide extent and its nearness to our own 
times, is the most plausible instance of such a parallelism. And 
Mr. Gurney, in his Note on Chapter IV., has given the results of an 
analysis of witch-literature more laborious than previous authors 
had thought it worth while to undertake. The result is remarkable ; 
for it appears that the only marvels for which respectable testimony 
was adduced consist obviously of ignorant descriptions of hypnotic 
and epileptiform phenomena now becoming familiar to science ; 
while as to the monstrous stories — copied from one uncritical 
writer into another — which have given to this confused record of 
hypnotic and hysterical illusions the special aromas (so to say) of 
witchcraft or lycanthropy, — these prodigies have scarcely ever the 
slightest claim to be founded on any first-hand evidence at all. 

§ 20. But while the material here offered for forming an opinion 
on all these points is. no doubt, much larger than previous writers 
have been at the pains to amass, we are anxious, neverthe- 
less, to state explicitly that we regard this present collection of 
facts as merely preliminary ; this present work as merely opening 
out a novel subject ; these researches of a few persons during a 
few years as the mere first instalment of inquiries which will need 


repetition and reinforcement to an extent which none of us can as 
yet foresee. 

A change in the scientific outlook so considerable as that to which 
these volumes point must needs take time to accomplish. Time is 
needed not only to spread the knowledge of new facts, but also 
to acclimatise new conceptions in the individual mind. Such, at 
least, has been our own experience ; and since the evidence which has 
come to us slowly and piecemeal is here presented to other minds 
suddenly and in a mass, we must needs expect that its acceptance by 
them will be a partial and gradual thing. What we hope for first is 
an increase in the number of those who are willing to aid us in our 
labours ; we trust that the fellow- workers in many lands to whom we 
already owe so much may be encouraged to further collection of 
testimony, renewed experiment, when they see these experiments 
confirming one another in London, Paris, Berlin, — this testimony 
vouching for cognate incidents from New York to New Zealand, and 
from Manchester to Calcutta. 

With each year of experiment and registration we may hope that 
our results will assume a more definite shape — that there will be less 
of the vagueness and confusion inevitable at the beginning of a novel 
line of research, but naturally distasteful to the savant accustomed 
to proceed by measurable increments of knowledge from experi- 
mental bases already assured. Such an one, if he reads this book, 
may feel as though he had been called away from an ordnance survey, 
conducted with a competent staff and familiar instruments, to plough 
slowly with inexperienced mariners through some strange ocean where 
beds of entangling seaweed cumber the trackless way. We accept 
the analogy ; but we would remind him that even floating weeds of 
novel genera may foreshow a land unknown ; and that it was not 
without ultimate gain to men that the straining keels of Columbus 
first pressed through the Sargasso Sea. 

§ 21. Yet oue word more. This book is not addressed to savants 
alone, and it may repel many readers on quite other than scientific 
grounds. Attempting as we do to carry the reign of Law into a 
sanctuary of belief and emotion which has never thus been invaded 
in detail, — l}^ng in wait, as it were, to catch the last impulse of the 
dying, and to question the serenity of the dead, — we may seem to 
be incurring the poet's curse on the man " who would peep and 
botanize upon his mother's grave," — to be touching the Ark of sacred 


mysteries with hands stained with labour in the profane and common 

How often have men thus feared that Nature's wonders would be 
degraded by being closelier looked into ! How often, again, have 
they learnt that the truth was higher than their imagination ; and 
that it is man's work, but never Nature's, which to be magnificent 
must remain unknown ! How would a disciple of Aristotle, — fresh 
from his master's conception of the fixed stars as types of godhead, 
— of an inhabitance by pure existences of a supernal world of their 
own, — how would he have scorned the proposal to learn more of 
those stars by dint of the generation of fetid gases and the sedulous 
minuteness of spectroscopic analysis ! Yet how poor, how frag- 
mentary were Aristotle's fancies compared with our conception, thus 
gained, of cosmic unity ! our vibrant message from Sirius and Orion 
by the heraldry of the kindred flame ! Those imagined gods are 
gone ; but the spectacle of the starry heavens has become for us so 
moving in its immensity that philosophers, at a loss for terms of 
wonder, have ranked it with the Moral Law. 

If man, then, shall attempt to sound and fathom the depths that 
lie not without him, but within, analogy may surely warn him 
that the first attempts of his rude psycJioscopes to give precision and 
actuality to thought will grope among " beggarly elements," — will be 
concerned with things grotesque, or trivial, or obscure. Yet here 
also one handsbreadth of reality gives better footing than all the 
castles of our dream ; here also by beginning with the least things we 
shall best learn how great things may remain to do. 

The insentient has awoke, we know not how, into sentiency ; the 
sentient into the fuller consciousness of human minds. Yet even 
human self-consciousness remains a recent, a perfunctory, a superficial 
thing ; and we must first reconstitute our conception of the microcosm, 
as of the macrocosm, before we can enter on those " high capacious 
powers " which, I believe, " lie folded up in man." 

F. W. H. M. 



Page 33, line 20. For 999,999, 98, read 999, 999, 999, 1. 

Page 34, line 6. For 1000 to 1, read " about 500 to 1." 

Page 88. Since the note on this page was written, some additional 
evidence has been obtained as to the effect of concentration of the 
operator's will in the process of hypnotising. See the cases quoted 
in the Additional Chapter, (Vol. II., pp. 680, 684, 685,) from the records 
of the Society de Psychologie Physiologique. 

Page 110, first note. Two further examples of this interesting type 
will be found on pp. Ixxxi-iv, below. 

Page 118, second note. After this note had been printed off, I came 
across a passage from Die Christliche Myatik, by J. J. von Goerres, in 
which a learned bishop, Prudencio de Sandoval, is made to describe a 
witch's journey through the air as though he had himself been a judicial 
spectator of it. A reference to Sandoval's own account, however, in his 
Historia de la vida y hechos del EmiJerador Carlos V. (Pamplona, 1618), 
Vol. I., p. 830, shows that the trial of the witch in question took place in 
1527. Now Sandoval died in 1621; clearly, therefore, he could not have 
been a first-hand witness, as represented. Nor does he even name his 
authority; and discredit is thrown on his sources of information by 
Llorente, in his Anales de la Inquisicion de Esjmna (Madrid, 1812), p. 319. 
As the passage from Goerres was quoted in a first-class scientific review, 
and, if accurate, would have told against my statements as to the absence 
of first-hand evidence for alleged magical occurrences, I have thought it 
worth while to forestall a possible objection. 

The only instance that I can find, during the witch-epoch, of definite 
first-hand evidence for a marvel of a type which our present knowledge of 
abnormal bodily and mental states will not explain, is, as it happens, not 
part of the history of so-called magic, but is connected with the 
extraordinary epidemic of religious excitement which took place in the 
Cevennes at the beginning of the last century. As the instance seems to be 
a solitary one, it may be worth while to give the facts. The Thedtre Sacre 
des Cevennes (London, 1707) contains the depositions of two witnesses 
to the fact that they saw a man named Clary stand for many minutes, 
totally uninjured, in the midst of a huge fire of blazing wood ; and that 
they immediately afterwards ascertained by their own senses that there 
was not a sign of burning on him or his clothes. This is the sort of 
case which, if multiplied by scores or hundreds, and if nothing were 


known against the character of the witnesses, would support the view that 
an apparently strong evidential case can be made out for phenomena — 
being matters of direct observation — which nevertheless for the scientific 
mind are impossible ; and that therefore the evidential case for telepathy- 
presented in this book may be safely neglected (see p. 115). But the 
character of the two deponents mentioned is seriously impugned by a 
third witness, the celebrated Colonel Cavallier, who had no interest in 
decrying his own followers and partisans, and whose probity seems never 
to have been doubted even by those who most questioned his good sense.^ 
( Nouveaux Memoires pour Servir ct VHistoire des Trois Camisars, London, 
1708, pp. 6-9.) He describes them as worthless impostors, as to whom 
it was easy to see " qu' il n'y a pas beaucoup a compter sur ce qu' ils disent, 
et encore moins sur ce qu' ils sont." See also the account given of them 
by Dr. Hutchinson, a by no means over-sceptical writer, who seems to have 
had the means of ascertaining Cavallier's opinions when the latter was in 
England. (A Short Vieiv of the Pretended Spirit of Prophecy, London, 
1708, pp. 9, 16. See also A Preservative agaiyist the False Pro]}hets of the 
Times, by Mark Vernons, London, 1708, p. 72 ; and Claris Prophetica, 
London, 1707, pp. 8, 9.) As regards Colonel Cavallier himself, we have to 
note (1) that in the history of the Cevennes disturbances, attributed to 
him and probably drawn up from recollections of his conversations, not a 
word on the subject occurs ; and that the only direct testimony to the 
occurrence that we have from him, as far as I can discover^ is the phrase, 
" Cela est vrai," applied to the fire of Clary, " et d'autres choses de cette 
nature" [Memoii-es jJour Servir, ttc, p. 10) ;2 (2) that even supposing he was 
an eye-witness, it nowhere appears that he examined Clary after the ordeal, 
and ascertained th'at his clothes and hair were unsinged ; and, as Hutchinson 
remarks, the fire may have been " a fire of straw, that is no sooner kindled 
but it is out again." And in fact, in the Uistoire des Troubles des Cevennes, 
by A. Court ( Villef ranche, 1760), p. 442, the author professes to have 
found, from information gathered at the spot, that " (1) Clary ne sejourna 
pas dans le feu ; (2) il y entra deux fois ; (3) il se brula au col du bras, et 
fut oblige de s'arreter au lieu de Pierredon, pour se fair panser." 

I confine myself to this single case, which bears directly on ray 
discussion of evidence in Chapter IV. ; but since no- topic has been a 
greater favourite in the modern literature of the "supernatural " than the 
phenomena of tlie Cevennes, it may be useful to add tliat probably no 
chapter of history ofiers equal facilities for studying the natural genesis 
of modern miracles. 

Page 127, line 16. For wonder-mongerer read wonder-monger. 

Page 140, last sentence of note. Since this was written, a few other 
instances have been included where it is possible, but not certain, that the 

1 See, for instance, the Uistoire des Camisards (London, 1754), p. 333, note. The 
view of Cavallier there cited from De Brueys' Histoire du Fanatisme (Utrecht, 1737), 
need not be discounted because in the same work he is called a scelerat ; that being 
De Brueys' generic term for a Camisard leader. 

' No further testimony of Cavallier's on the subject seems to have been known to the 
author of the Examen du Theatre Sacre des Cevennes (London, 1708, p. 34). He is not 
even stated to have been present, except in the depositions of the discredited witnesses ; 
but on this point they may probably be trusted, as falsehood would have been at once 


12 hours' limit was exceeded. It was exceeded in case 138, and possibly 
in case 1G5. 

Page 145, last sentence. Since this was printed, some further cases 
have been received of considerable exaggeration of the closeness of a coin- 
cidence, which sliould be added to the examples mentioned in the note. 

(1) An informant sent us a sworn affidavit to the effect that, in January, 
1852, when returning from China on board the " Pilot," and near the Cape, 
he had a vision of his sister, and learnt on his arrival in England that she 
had died " about the time " of the vision. We find, from an examination 
of various newspapers, that the " Pilot " was in the East Indies up to 
December, 1851, and was at Devonport in March, 1852 ; so that she may 
well have been near the Cape in January, 1852. But we find from the 
Register of Deaths that the sister died on June 29, 1851, at which date, 
as we learn from the Admiralty, the "Pilot" was at Whampoa. It is not 
likely that our informant was mistaken as to his own experience having 
taken place on the return voyage, and shortly before his arrival in England. 
What happened, we may surmise, is that he was told, when he arrived 
after a long absence, that his sister had lately died ; and that on the 
strength of his vision, he assumed or gradually came to imagine, that 
the death had happened only several weeks before, instead of several 

(2) A gentleman gave us a striking account of a phantasm of a fiiend, 
then in the Transvaal war, who appeared in his room early one morning, 
and announced that he had been shot through the right lung. Such a 
hallucination being absolutely unique in our informant's experience, he 
noted the time — 4.10 a.m. — by a clock on the mantelpiece, and waited 
feverishly during the hours that elapsed before he could see a newspaper 
at his club. He found no news of the war. In the course of the day he 
mentioned his vision and his disquietude to an acquaintance at the club. 
The next morning he saw, in the first paper that he took up, the announce- 
ment that his friend had been killed — shot through the right lung, as 
it afterwards proved — at an hour (as he calculated) closely coincident with 
that of his vision. We found, however, from the London Gazette, that 
the battle in which this officer was killed did not begin till 9.30 am. ; and 
the death took place at least two hours later, which would be between 9 
and 10 a.m. in England. Clearly, therefore, the vision must have preceded 
the death by some hours, if tliey occurred on the same day. But an examin- 
ation of the newspapers makes it seem very likely that the vision fell on 
the day after the death. The battle took place on Friday, and was 
announced in the Saturday papers ; but the death was not announced in 
the morning papers till Monday, and the vision which is represented as 
having occurred on the day next before the announcement of the death 
may more easily be supposed to have occurred on the second day than on 
the third day before — i.e., on the Saturday, not the Friday morning. 
As to the statement that the papers contained no war-news on the 
morning of the vision, that is a point on which our informant's memory 
might easily get wrong, as they did not contain what he seai'ched them for. 

(3) An account signed by three witnesses of unimpeachable character, 
and purporting to be a statement made to them on Sept. 7, 1859, by T. 
Crowley, of Dinish Island, records a hallucination which he experienced 


on Saturday, Aug. 13, and afterwards connected with the unexpected 
death of his daughter, Ellen, which took place at a distance a few hours 
earlier. This daughter had been an inmate of a Deaf and Dumb 
Asylum. From the secretary of this institution we learnt that the 
day of her death was Sunday, July 24, 1859; and we procured a 
certificate of her burial on the following day. It is probable that 
those who took down the statement got an idea that the coincidence was a 
close one, and unconsciously forced the wrong date on an uneducated witness. 

(4) Two letters have been handed to us, written by a husband to his 
wife on Nov. 7 and Dec. 28, 1874. The first letter describes an over- 
powering impression of calamity at home which the writer experienced, 
during a voyage, on Friday, Nov. 6, and which he immediately mentioned 
to a friend, who has given us full written confirmation of the fact. In 
that week the writer of the letters lost a child, who died, as we find 
from the Register of Deaths, on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Yet the second 
letter, written after the news of the death had reached the father, 
says, " It is very strange, but the very time — day and hour — of our boy's 
death, I could not sleep," and then follows another account of the very 
experience which was before described (and undoubtedly correctly) as 
having happened on the night of Nov. 6, thi'ee days after the death. 

(5) A lady, who did not remember ever to have dreamt of death on 
any other occasion, told us that one night, in January, 1881, she had a 
remarkably vivid dream of the death of a relative whom she did not know 
to be ill or likely to die ; and that on coming down in the morning she 
found the death announced in the Tinies as having occurred on the previous 
day. She did not (for family reasons) communicate the name of the 
person who died. But it is not very common for deaths to appear in the 
Times on the day after that on which they occurred. A list was 
accordingly made out of all the persons, corresponding with her description 
in sex and age, whose deaths were so immediately announced during that 
month ; and the list, being submitted to her, her relative's name proved 
not to be in it. The death must therefore have preceded the dream by 
more than 24 hours. 

(6) Another informant gives an account of an interesting experience 
said to have occurred on the night of Sunday, May 6, 1866, and remai'k- 
ably coinciding with the death of the narrator's brother, lost with the 
"General Grant." The fate of this ship was not known till January, 1868, 
when the Melbouryie Argus published a " narrative of the survivors." 
From this account we find that the wreck occurred on the night of Sunday 
the 13th, and that the death in question probably occurred on the morning 
of the 14th ; which, allowing for longitude, w^ould closely correspond with 
the time of the experience in England, supposing that our informant's 
date was wrong by a week. This may very likely have been the case, as 
he explains that all he is clear about is that the day was a Sunday in May 
which he spent at a particular place. But unfortunately he had said in a 
former letter that the date May 6 was impressed on his mind by its being 
his own birthday ; and that statement cannot, of course, be ignored ; 
although he makes it tolerably clear that he really only inferred long 
afterwards that that was the day, because he knew for certain that on his 
birthday he was at the place where the experience occurred. 


Pages 149-51. The following instructive instance of the difference 
between first-hand and second-hand evidence shows how easily a spurious 
telepathic narrative may grow up. We received a second-hand account 
to the effect that a friend of our informant, as she was returning from a 
walk, saw her sister on the doorstep just entering the house, entered 
herself a few moments after, was told by the servant that her sister 
had not been out, went upstairs, and found her dying from a sudden fit. 
The first-hand account, which had been given to us some years before, con- 
tains every one of these facts, (modifying one of them by the statement 
that the sister died " witJiin 12 hours " after,) but adds just two more. 
" I, bei7i(/ very blind, thought ^ I saw her before me." " I probably mistook 
the door, there being two on the same doorstep as mine." How completely 
the aspect of the case is altered by these few additional words, appears in 
the most natural way from the sentences that follow. The second-hand 
account says, " Slie looked upon this as cm apparitioii, sent to her to break 
the sudden shock," &c. The first-hand account says, " / never imagined 
I had really seen an apparition ; but it certainly was a merciful mistake, 
as it in a certain sense broke the shock to me," &c. 

Page 154, second paragraph. The particular form of exaggeration 
in second-hand evidence, which represents what was really only a dream 
as that far rarer and more striking phenomenon — a waking hallucination — ■ 
is exemplified in connection with one of the narratives quoted later, No. 
429. The first-hand account, it will be seen, describes the experience 
simply as a dream ; Aubrey (J^Iiscellanies, London, 1696, p. 60) recounts 
it as a case of apparition. 

Page 156, last part of note. The publication of this book has led to 
the verication of the incident here described. The gentleman concerned 
— Mr. G. H. Dickson, of 17, Winckley Street, Preston — has sent me 
(Dec. 22, 1886) an account which differs from the second-hand report in 
two points only : — the woman was not actually crushed to death, though 
Mr. Dickson "was told, before leaving the station, that her injuries would 
be fatal " ; and his wife did not describe her experience to him immediately 
on his arrival, but later in the day — whether before or after his mention of 
the scene they do not now remember. 

Page 158, line 1. "No cases are given which are not first-hand." 
Oases 256 and 257 are exceptions ; but see Yol. IL, p. 83. 

Page 167, line 1 of note. "The suppi'essed names have in all cases 
been given to us in confidence." In the Supplement there are seven 
exceptions to this rule. Five of them are cases which have been previously 
published on apparently reliable authority, but which the death of the 
person responsible for them has prevented us from tracing to their source ; 
the sixth is a MS. case of the same description ; and in the seventh, our 
informant, though perfectly remembering the circumstances of his con- 
nection with the original witness, cannot recall his name. In a very few 
other cases the name of the agent has not been learnt. 

Page 206, note. Some independent evidence has been received as to the 
manner of Captain Collyer's death. An advertisement was inserted for us 
in the Daily Picayune, the leading New Orleans newspaper, offering a small 

1 Thought is italicised in the original : all the other italics ai-e mine. 


reward for definite information as to the fatal accident on the "Alice." 
For some months no information was given; but on Jan. 6, 1886, the 
editor wrote to us as follows: — "T©-daya party called Bit the Picayune 
office, and made the following statement : ' My name is J. L. Hall. I was 
a striker on the steamer "Red River "at the time she ran into the 
" Alice," John Collyer, master, at a point about 20 miles above New- 
Orleans. The accident occurred at 10 o'clock at night, in January, 1856. 
The day of the month I do not remember. The " Red River " was bound 
up stream, and the " Alice " bound down. The collision broke the 
5;tarboard engine of the " Alice " and stove in her upper guards and boiler 
deck. As soon as possible the " Red River " went to the assistance of 
the " Alice," when one of the crew of the disabled boat remarked that the 
captain had been killed. On investigation. Captain Collyer was found 
lying on his back on the starboard side of the boiler deck of his boat, with 
a severe wound in the head and life extinct. The crew of the " Alice," 
all of whom were negroes, stated that Captain Collyer had been killed by 
the collision, but the officers of the " Red River" thought otherwise, as 
the wound in his (Captain Collyer 's) head appeared to have been made 
before the two boats met, and the blood on the deck was coagulated. 
Probably not more than 10 minutes elapsed from the time the collision 
took place until the body of Captain Collyer was viewed by the officers of 
the " Red River." After helping the " Alice " to make repairs, the " Red 
River " proceeded on her voyage. I cannot say positively, but I do not 
think the killing of Captain Collyer was ever investigated.' " ^ 

It will be seen that there is a suggestion here that the death preceded 
the collision ; and if this was so, it is an additional reason for supposing 
the coincidence with Mrs. Collyer's experience to have been extremely 
close ; for the witness had no idea why the evidence was wanted, and 
cannot have adjusted his account to a narrative of which he knew 
nothing. If his idea is correct, then there is no reason to suppose (as I 
have too hastily done in p. 206, note) that he has made a mistake as to the 
hour of the collision. 

Page 248, case 49. The following is a corroborative account from 
Mrs. Arundel, who wrote from Maniton, Colorado, on April 1, 1886 : — 

"Not being very well, I was lying on the sofa (not -asleep, for I had 
my baby sitting on the floor beside me, playing). Mr. Arundel was away 
on a sailing excursion with some friends, and I did not expect his return 
for some days. It seemed to me that I distinctly heard him call me by 
name, 'Maggie,' a slight pause and again ' Maggie.' The voice seemed far 
off and yet clear, but the tone such as he would use if needing me. The 
impression was so distinct that I rose and went out on to the porch with 
the thought, 'Can they possibly have returned sooner for some reason?' 
and I so fully expected to see him there that I went back into the house 
with a feeling of disappointment and some anxiety, too, feeling so sure I 
had heard Ids voice. No one was in the house, my servant being out. 
When my husband came home, he was much startled to find how exactly 

1 The man who gave this account doubtless received the reward of a few dollars 
which had been placed in the editor's hands. In only one other instance has any payment 
been made to a witness : in that case the evidence had been spontaneously given, partly 
in writing and partly viva voce, and the payment was simply for the time occupied in 
drawing up a more complete written statement. 


his experience on that Sunday afternoon corresponded with my vivid 
impressions. It could not have been mere coincidence. I must add that I 
mentioned my experience to Mr. Arundel before he liad spoken to me of Ids. 

" I have had impressions more than once, but never & false one. When 
Mr. Arundel first crossed to America he met with a severe storm. The 
night that tlie ship was in great danger (tliough it is impossible to define 
how), 1 knew and felt that it was so. I mentioned it to my fi-iends, who 
ridiculed the fancy ; nevertheless, the time corresponded precisely. ^ 

" Marguerite Arundel." 

Page 249, case 52. Dr. and Mme. Ollivier are both now deceased. 

Page 261, note. On vivd voce examination of the witnesses, it seems 
probal)le that Portugal did enter into the impression ; but Mrs. Wilson, 
differing from her husband, thinks he knew that his brothers were going 
there — which certainly commends itself as the probable explanation of 
that detail. We had the door, which has been repainted, brought up to 
London, in oi'der that the paint might be carefully removed. The expert 
whom we emj^loyed to do this told us that it was very improbable that the 
pencil marks would have resisted the action of turpentine and the friction 
of the repainting ; and nothing relating to the incident was discovered. 

Page 304, bottom. Some further returns, received since this page was 
j^rinted, leave unaltered the proportion stated. 

Page 306, line 18. After " death" insert "dreamt by any previously 
specified individual." Lines 23 and 26. For tjV read ^^. Line 28. After 
"will" insert "on an average, if chance alone rules." 

Page 367, note. Visions of spectral funerals are mentioned by W. 
Howells, Cambrian Superstitions, pp. 54-6, 64 ; and by Wirt Sikes, British 
Goblins, pp. 231-2. An apparently telepathic instance, recoi'ded in a. 
collection of Border legends made by a Mr. Wilkie, may be found in W. 
Henderson's Folk-lore of the Northern Counties of England and the 
Borders, p. 29. 

Page 394, note. It is true that Isaak Walton's account represents 
Dr. Donne as declaring that he was certainly awake ; but Walton is a 
third-hand witness. See p. 154, second paragraph, and the above 
remarks thereon. 

Page 408, case 154. Asked by her daughter to say "whether she 
remembered anything particular taking place at home " on the night of 
the death, Mrs. Thompson wrote as follows, on June 30, 1886 : — 

" 82, Talbot Street, Moss-side, Manchester. 

" I remember distinctly my daughter coming to my room several times 
asking me if I had called her, or if I knew who had called her, the night 
during which my nephew, Harry Suddaby, died, u ^^^^^ Thompson." 

Page 479. Since this page was printed, I have received another instance 
of hallucinations voluntarily originated. A lady who lias had a scientific 
training tells me that one bright June day, two years ago — when lying ill in 
bed, but with her mind especially active — she saw the gradual formation, 
on the background of the blind, of a statuesque head, which then changed 

} An impression of this sort, occurring at what may naturally have been a time of 
anxiety, has no evidential weight. The distinctly auditory character of the more recent 
experience places it in quite a different category. 


into another. " I tired myself calling the pictures up again during the 
afternoon. They seemed as clear as if real, but after the first flash I was 
conscious of a mental effort with regard to them. Banishment was very 
easy ; it only needed a relaxed tension." 

To the cases mentioned in the note should be added Dr. Abercrombie's 
description of a gentleman (not personally known to him) who " had the 
power of calling up spectral figures at his will, by directing his attention 
steadily to the conception of his own mind ; and this may either consist 
of a figure or a scene which he has seen, or it may be a composition 
created by his imagination. But though he has the faculty of producing 
the illusion, he has no power of banishing it ; and when he has called up 
any particular spectral figure or scene, he never can say how long it may 
continue. The gentleman is in the prime of life, of sound mind, in good 
health, and engaged in business. Another of his family has been affected 
in the same manner, though in a slighter degree." {Inquiries concerning 
the Intellectual Powers, 1838, p. 363.) 

Pages 497-8. Chap. XI., § 2. The compatibility of sensory hallucina- 
tions, even of a very pronounced sort, with sound bodily and mental health 
is illustrated in the passage just quoted from Abercrombie. 

Page 503, lines 17, 18. The statement that hallucinations of the sane 
and healthy, representing non-human objects, seem to be " rarely if ever " 
grotesque or horrible, is rather too sweeping. An exception should at 
any rate be made for certain endemic hallucinations. (See Yol. II., 
p. 189, note.) 

Page 514, first paragraph. Some further examples of auditory 
hallucinations probably due to expectancy may be found in Howells' 
Cambrian Superstitions (Tipton, 1831), p. 65. See also Sikes's British 
Goblins, p. 229. 

Page 534, case 199. The account, confirmed by Mr. B. in 1883, was 
written in or before 1876. Mrs. B. writes, on Dec. 31, 1886: — "I 

perfectly recollect the occasion of Mrs. 's death, and that my husband 

for a whole week was considerably concerned about her. My husband 
mentioned the vision the same morning, at the time it occurred, and we 
did not hear of the death till seven or eight days afterwards." The 
death could not be traced in the register at Somerset House ; but on 
inquiring of the coroner of the district where it occurred, we find that it 
took place exactly as described, on April 9, 1873, which, however, was a 
Wednesday, not a Saturday. The mistake as to the day of the week 
seems neither to increase nor to decrease the probability that Mr. and Mrs. 
B. were able, after the short interval which elapsed before they heard the 
news, correctly to identify the day of the vision with that of the death. 

Page 546, lines 14-16. Mr. Keulemans' statement that his little 
boy's fringe could not have grown to its usual length in a month might be 
questioned. But on my pointing this out to him, he explained that (being 
struck by the fact that the hair, as he saw it in his vision, was just as he 
had been accustomed to see it) he had expressly asked his mother-in-law 
what was the state of the child's hair at the time of his death ; and she 
had said that he " had very little hair— that it grew straight upright, and 
that he had no fringe when he died." Mr. Keulemans has no difficulty in 
accepting this description, as he has recently made experiments with two 


of his cliildren, aged 4 and 6, with a result that entirely accords with it. 
The rate at which hair grows seems to difter greatly in different people. 

Page 548, note. To the case mentioned add Mr. Wilkie's narrative, 
referred to above in connection with p. 367. Other possible examples 
of the bizarre investiture of a telepathic impression may be found in 
Kelly's Curiosities of Indo- European Traditions and Folk-Lore, p. 104 ; 
and in G. Waldron's Description of the Isle of Man, pp. 69-70, — a case 
to which we have a close parallel on good, but not first-hand, authority. See 
also Paul Sebillot's Traditions de la Haute Bretagne, Vol. I., pp 265-9. 

Page 558, line 23. Major (now Colonel) Borthwick writes on Dec. 22, 
1886, from the Chief Constable's Office, County Buildings, Edinburgh, that 
he is under the impression that Captain Russell Colt mentioned his experi- 
ence to the party at breakfast on the morning after it occurred. 

Page 559, case 211. In conversation, the narrator mentioned that the 
boots of the figure appeared clean, though it was pouring with rain ; and 
that the stick which she afterwards recognised had a silver i^omme, not a 
curved handle. She was noticing the passage of time, as her father had 
to catch a train that afternoon. She added some details which increase 
the probability that the dying man's thoughts were running on her father 
at the last. As to the fact that it was she who was the percipient, and 
not her father, see Vol. II., pp. 268, 301 ; and compare cases 192, 225, 
242, 307, 660. 

The following " transitional " case is a fresh specimen of the rare and 
most important class to which Nos. 13, 14, 15, 16, 685, and 686 belong; 
and is further of interest as being directly due to the publication of this 
book. The receipt of it justifies us in hoping that we may encounter more 
like it. On November 16th, 1886, the Rev. C. Godfrey, of 5, The Goffs, 
Eastbourne, wrote to Mr. Podmore as follows : — 

" I was so impressed by the account on p. 105, that I determined to 
put the matter to an experiment. 

"Retiring at 10.45, I determined to appear, if possible, to [a friend], 
and accordingly I set myself to work, with all the volitional and determina- 
tive energy which I possess, to stand at the foot of her bed. I need not 
say that I never dropped the slightest hint beforehand as to my intention, 
such as would mar the experiment, nor had I mentioned the subject to 
her. As the ' agent,' I may describe my own experiences. 

" Undoubtedly the imagiiiative faculty was brought extensively into 
play, as well as the volitional ; for I endeavoured to translate myself, 
spiritually, into the room, and to attract her attention, as it were, while 
standing there. My effort was sustained for perhaps 8 minutes, after 
which I felt tired, and was soon asleep. 

"The next thing I was conscious of was meeting the lady next morning, 
{i.e., in a dream, I suppose 1) and asking her at once if she had seen me 
last night. The reply came ' Yes.' ' How 1 ' I inquired. Then 
in words strangely clear and low, like a well-audible whisper, came 
the answer, ' I was sitting beside you.' These words, so clear, awoke me 
instantly, and I felt I must have been dreaming; but on reflection, I 
remembered what I had been 'willing' before I fell asleep; and it 
struck me, ' This must be a reflex action from the percipient.' 



"My watch showed 3.40 a.m. The following is what I wrote imme- 
diately in pencil, standing in my night-dress : — ' As I reflected upon those 
clear words, they struck me as being quite intuitive — I mean subjective, 
and to have proceeded from witJiin, as my own conviction, rather than a 
communication from anyone else.^ And yet I can't remember her face at 
all, as one can after a \'ivid dream ! ' 

" But the words were uttered in a clear, quick tone, which was most 
remarkable, and awoke me at once. 

" My friend, in the note with which she sent me the enclosed account of 
her own experience, says : ' I remember the man put all the lamps out 
soon after I came upstairs, and that is only done about a quarter to 4.' " 

Mr. Godfrey went next morning to see someone who resided in the 

same house as Mrs. , and was leaving, when " she called out to me 

from the window that she had something special to tell me ; but being 
very busy, I could not return again into the house, and replied to the 
effect that it would keep. I am not quite certain now ^ whether it was on 
the afternoon of the same day, or later in the morning, that she called. I 
asked her, as usual [for she suffered from neuralgia], if she had had a 
good night, and she at once commenced to narrate as I have told you. 
When she had told me all, I begged her at once to go home and write it 
down. The account which I sent to you was the I'esult ; and it compared 
accurately with a few scribbled notes in pencil which I had hastily jotted 
down as she was relating it to me originally." 

The following is the percipient's account : — 

"Yesterday, viz., the morning of Nov. 16, 1886, about half-past 3 o'clock, 
I woke up with a start, and an idea that someone had come into the room. 
I also heard a curious sound, but fancied it might be the birds in the ivy out- 
side. Next I experienced a strange, restless longing to leave the room and go 
downstairs. This feeling became so overpowering that at last I rose, and 
lit a candle, and went down, thinking if I could get some soda-water it 
might have a quieting effect. On returning to my room, I saw Mr. 
Godfrey standing under the large window on the staircase. He was 
dressed in his usual style, and with an expression on his face that I have 
noticed when he has been looking very earnestly at anything. He stood 
there, and I held up the candle and gazed at him for 3 or 4 seconds 
in utter amazement ; and then, as I passed up the staircase, he disappeared. 
The impression left on my mind was so vivid that I fully intended waking 
a friend who occupied the same room as myself ; but remembering I should 
only be laughed at as romantic and imaginative, refrained from doing so. 

1 At first sight, this seems inconsistent with the idea of the "reflex " or reciprocal 
action in the preceding paragraph. But Mr. Godfrey explains what he means as 
follows : — " I was dreaming : reflection convinced me that the particular words were not 
uttered in course of natural dream, but by reflex [reciprocal] action : also that they 
proceeded from myself, and not from any one standing over my bed in the room. It was 
' from any one else ' that confused my meaning. I meant any one in the room, not any one 
in another house : from her they clearly did proceed." There does not seem, however, to 
be any such proof of reciprocal action as Mr. Godfrey supposes ; no reason appears why 
his dream should not have been purely subjective. 

2 The letter here quoted was written to me on Jan. 13, 1887. Mr. Podmore says that 

it entirely accords with Mr. Godfrey's and Mrs. 's independent viva voce accounts 

given on the previous Nov. 22. The reason why these details were not included in Mr. 
Podmore's notes was that at the moment he was under the impression that they had been 
mentioned in Mr. Godfrey's first letter, which was in my possession. 


" I was not frightened at the appearance of Mr. Godfrey, but felt much 
excited and could not sleep afterwards." 

In conversation with Mrs. (Nov. 22, 1886), Mr. Podmore learnt 

that she is a good sleeper, and not given to waking at nights. She does not 
remember ever before having experienced anything like tlie feeling which 
she had on first waking up. She was at the bottom of the stairs when she 
saw Mr. Godfrey's figure, which appeared on the landing, about 11 steps up. 
It was quite distinct and life-like at first, — though she does not remember 
noticing more than the upper part of the body ; as she looked, it grew more 
and more shadowy, and finally faded away. It must be added that she has 
seen in her life two other phantasmal appearances, which represented a 
parent whom she had recently lost. But a couple of experiences of this 
sort, coming at a time of emotional strain, cannot be regarded as a sign of 
any abnormal liability to subjective hallucinations (see p. 510) ; and even 
if she was destined anyhow to experience one other, the chances against 
its representing one particular member of her acquaintance, at the very 
time when he happened for the first time in his life to be making the efibrt 
above described, would be at least many hundreds of thousands to 1. 

We requested Mr. Godfrey to make another trial, without of course 

giving Mrs. any reason to expect that he would do so. He made a 

trial at once, thinking that we wanted the result immediately, though 
he himself thought the time unsuitable ; and this was a failure. But on 
Dec. 8, 1886, he wrote as follows : — 

" My friend Mrs. has just been in, and given me an account of what 

she experienced last night ; she is gone home to write it out for you, and 
it will be enclosed with mine. I can state that I have not attempted one 
experiment since I last communicated with you ; therefore there are no 

failures to record. I was at Mrs. 's house last evening, and she 

testifies this morning that she had not the faintest suspicion that I intended 
attempting another experiment. The first words she used on seeing me 
this morning were (laughingly) ' Well, I saw you last night, anyway.' 

" All the interest, as on the former occasion, of course lies with the per- 
cipient. I may simply explain that I acted as on the former occasion — viz., 
concentrated my attention on the pei-cipient, while I was undressing ; then 
devoted some 1 minutes, when in bed, to intense efibrt to transport myself 
to her presence, and make my presence felt both by voice and touch, — viz., 
placing my hand upon the percipient's head. Then 1 fell asleep, slept 
well, and was conscious of nothing suflBciently vivid to awake me. 

" Directly I awoke at my usual time, about 6.40 a.m., I guessed that I 
had succeeded, because I instantly remembered that I had dreamt (as last 
time) of meeting the lady next day, and asking her the same question — viz., 
whether she had seen me, and the answer was, ' Yes, I saw you indistinctly.' 
This reflex action is very important, and I would undertake to tell, on any 
occasion, whether I had failed or succeeded. The words of reply (above) 
were written down by me on paper ^ before hearing the percipient's account. 

1 As to this note, and the one made on the former occasion, Mr. Godfrey writes, " I 
am very sorry that I never kept the scraps of newspaper edge upon which I jotted do^^Ti 
my reflections, and the words which reached me, in the middle of the night. I jotted 
them down to exchide any invahdation of the inferences on score of defective memory ; 
not thinking it needful to retain them as a check, when I had copied from them into my 
letters, they were committed to the flames." 


"This case is, I think, very instructive, because of the sound of voice, 
as well as of sight." 

Mr. Godfrey adds that Mrs. , though she appeared in good 

spirits, had been "frightened and a little unnerved" ; and that he should 
not feel justified in repeating the experiment. 

The percipient's account, written on Dec. 8, 1886, is as follows : — 
"Last night, Tuesday, Dec. 7th, I went upstairs at half-past 10. 
I remember distinctly locking the bed-room door, which this morning, to 
my astonishment, was unlocked. I was soon asleep, and had a strange 
dream of taking flowers to a grave. Suddenly I heard a voice say ' Wake,' 
and felt a hand rest on the left side of my head. (I was lying on the right 
side.) I was wide awake in a second, and heard a curious sound in the 
room, something like a Jew's harp. I felt a cold breath streaming over 
me, and violent palpitation of the heart came on ; and I also distinctly 
saw a figure leaning over me. The only light in the room was from the 
lamp outside, which makes a long line on the wall over the wash-stand. 
This line was partly obscured by the figure. I turned round at once, and 
the hand seemed to slip from my nead to the pillow beside me. The figure 
was stooping over me, and I felt it leaning up against the side of the bed. 
I saw the arm resting on the pillow the whole time it remained. I saw 
an outline of the face, but it seemed as if a mist were before it. I think 
the time when it came must have been about half-past 12. It had drawn 
the curtain of the bed slightly back, but this morning I noticed it was 
hanging straight as usual. The figure was undoubtedly that of Mr. 
Godfrey. I knew it by the appearance of the shoulders and the shape of 
the face. The whole time it remained, there Avas a draught of cold air 
streaming through the room, as if both door and window were open. I 
heard the dining-room clock strike half-past something ; and as I could not 
sleep again, but heard the clock strike hours and half -hours consecutively 
up to 5 o'clock, I think I am right in saying the time was half-past 12," 
I have drawn attention (pp. 165-6, and Vol. II., p. 170) to the 
fact that the first-hand evidence for telepathic experiences includes no 
reports of physical changes produced in the material world — which, if they 
occurred, would be impossible to account for by the hypothesis of a tem- 
porary psychical transference from one mind to another. A percipient 
may have the hallucination of seeing the door opening (p. 102, note); 
but the door not having really been moved, it of course is not afterwards 
found open. So, in the above account, the curtain, which seemed to the 
percipient to be shifted at the time of her experience, was found in its 
place in the morning. On the other hand, the door, which she says that 
she had locked, was found unlocked. On being questioned as to this, she 
replies that the door is habitually locked at night, and that she does not 
walk in her sleep ; but she thinks it probable that, after locking the door, 
she left the room to get some matches, and that she omitted to lock it again 
on her return. If anyone, after this, should be inclined to connect the 
unlocking with the apparition, I would suggest to him that a " ghost " 
which has shown its capacity to walk through a closed hall-door would, 
on finding a bed-room door locked on the inside, be more likely to walk 
through it than to unlock it. 



^ 1. Whatever the advances of science may do for the universe, 
there is one thing that they have never yet done and show no prospect 
of doing — namely, to make it less marvellous. Face to face with the 
facts of Nature, the wonderment of the modern chemist, physicist, 
zoologist, is far wider and deeper than that of the savage or the child ; 
far wider and deeper even than that of the early workers in the scientific 
field. True it is that science explains ; if it did not it would be 
worthless. But scientific explanation means only the reference of more 
and more facts to immutable laAvs ; and, as discovery advances in 
every department, the orderly marvel of the comprehensive laws 
merely takes the place of the disorderly marvel of arbitrary occur- 
rences. The mystery is pushed back, so to speak, from facts in 
isolation to facts in the aggregate ; but at every stage of the 
process the mystery itself gathers new force and impressiveness. 

What, then, is the specific relation of the man of science to the 
phenomena which he observes ? His explanation of them does not lead 
him to marvel at them less than the uneducated person : what does 
it lead him to do for them that the uneducated person cannot 
do ? " To predict them with certainty," it will no doubt be replied ; 
" which further implies, in cases where the conditions are within 
his control, to produce them at will." But it is important to observe 
that this power of prediction, though constantly proclaimed as the 
authoritative test of scientific achievement, is very for indeed 
from being an accurate one. For it is a test which is only ful- 
filled with anything like completeness by a small group of sciences — 
those which deal with inorganic nature. The physicist can pro- 
claim with confidence that gravitation, and heat, and electricity 
(as long as they act at all) will continue to act as they do now ; 
every discovery that the chemist makes about a substance is a 


prophecy as to the behaviour of that class of substance for ever. 
But as soon as vital organisms appear on the scene, there is a 
change. Not only do the complexities of structure and process, 
and the mutual reactions of the parts and the whole, exclude all exact 
quantitative formulae ; not only is there an irreducible element of 
uncertainty in the behaviour from moment to moment of the 
simplest living unit ; but there appear also developments, and 
varieties and " sports," which present themselves to us as 
arbitrary — which have just to be registered, and cannot be 
explained. Not, of course, that they are really arbitrary ; no scien- 
tifically trained mind entertains the least doubt that they are in 
every case the inevitable results of prior conditions. But the know- 
ledge of the expert has not approximately penetrated to the secret 
of those conditions ; here, therefore, his power of prediction largely 
fails him. 

This applies to a great extent even to events of a uniform and 
familiar order. Biological science may predict that an animal will be 
of the same species as its parents ; but cannot predict its sex. It 
may predict the general characteristics of the next generation of men ; 
but not the special attributes of a single individual. But its power 
of forecast is limited in a far more striking way — by the perpetual 
modification of the very material with which it has to deal. It is able 
to predict that, given such and such variations, natural selection will 
foster and increase them ; that given such and such organic taints, 
heredity will transmit them : but it is powerless to say what the next 
spontaneous variation, or the next development of heredity will be. 
It is at work, not on steadfast substances with immutable qualities, 
like those of the inorganic world ; but on substances whose very 
nature is to change. The evolution of animal existence, from proto- 
plasm upwards, involves ever fresh elaborations in the composition of 
the vital tissues. Science traces the issue of these changes, and learns 
even to some extent to foresee and so to guide their course ; it can 
thus lay down laws of scientific breeding, laws of medicine and 
hygiene. But the unconquerable spontaneity of the organic world is 
for ever setting previous generalisations at defiance ; in great things 
and small, from the production of a new type of national physique to 
the production of a new variety of tulip, it is ever presenting fresh 
developments, whose necessity no one could divine, and of which no 
one could say aught until they were actually there. And so, though 
science follows closely after, and keeps up the game with spirit, its 


position ill its Wonderland is always rather like that of Alice in 
hers, when the croquet-hoops consisted of soldiers who moved as 
often as they chose. The game is one on which it will never be 
safe to bet for very far ahead ; and it is one which will certainly 
never end. 

And if this is true of life in its j)kyHiGal manifestations, it is 
certainly not less true of its ^mental manifestations. It is to the 
latter, indeed, that we naturally turn for the highest examples of 
mobility, and the most marked exhibitions of the unexpected. An 
Athenian of Solon's time, speculating on " the coming race," might 
well have predicted for his countrymen the physical prowess that won 
Marathon, but not the peculiar intellectual vitality that culminated 
in the theatre of Dionysus. At the present moment, it is safer to 
prophesy that the next generation in Germany will include a good 
many hundreds of thousands of short-sighted persons than that it will 
include a Beethoven. Nor will it surprise us to find the " sports " and 
uncertainties of vital development most conspicuous on the psychical 
side, if we remember the nature of their physical basis. For mental 
facts are indissolubly linked with the very class of material facts 
that science can least penetrate — with the most complex sort of 
changes occurring in the most subtly-woven sort of matter — the 
molecular activities of brain-tissue. 

§ 2. There exists, then, a large department of natural events 
where the test of prediction can be applied only in a restricted way. 
Whether the events be near or distant — whether the question be of 
intellectual developments a thousand years hence, or of the movements 
of an amoeba or the success of a " thought-transference " experiment 
in the next five minutes — there is here no voice that can speak with 
absolute authority. The expert gets his cosmic prophecies accepted 
by pointing to the perpetual fulfilment of his minor predictions in the 
laboratory ; or he refutes adverse theories by showing that they con- 
flict with facts that he can at any moment render patent. But as to the 
implications and possibilities of life — the constitution and faculties of 
qnan — he will do well to predict and refute with caution ; for here 
he may fail even to guess the relation of what will be to what is. If his 
function as a prophet is not wholly abrogated, he is a prophet ever 
liable to correction. He is obliged to deal largely in likelihoods and 
tendencies ; and (if I may venture on a prophecy which is perhaps as 
fallible as the rest) the interest in the laws that he is able to lay 

B 2 


down will never supersede the interest in the exceptions to those 
laws. Indeed it is in emphasising exceptions that his own role will 
largely consist. And above all must he beware of setting up 
any arbitrary " scientific frontier " between the part of Nature that 
he knows and the part that he does not know. He can trace the 
great flood of evolution to the point at which he stands ; but a little 
beyond him it loses itself in the darkness ; and though he may 
realise its general force and direction, and roughly surmise the mode 
in which its bed will be shaped, he can but dimly picture the scenes 
through which it will flow. 

But if the science of life cannot be final, there is no reason why it 
should not be accurate and coherent. And if the scope of definite 
scientific comprehension is here specially restricted, and the unex- 
pected is specially certain to occur, that is no reason for abating one 
jot of care in the actual work that it remains possible to do — the 
work of sifting and marshalling evidence, of estimating sources of 
error, and of strictly adjusting theories to facts. On the contrary, the 
necessity for such care is only increased. If incaution may be 
sometimes shown in too peremptorily shutting the door on alleged 
phenomena which are not in clear continuity with established 
knowledge, it is far more often and flagrantly shown in the claim for 
their admission. And it is undeniable that the conditions which have 
been briefly described expose speculation on the possible developments 
of vital phenomena to peculiar dangers and difficulties. In proportion 
as the expert moderates his tone, and makes his forecasts in a tentative 
and hypothetical manner, it is certain that those who are not experts 
will wax bold in assertion and theory. The part of the map that 
science leaves blank, as Urra incognita, is the very one which 
amateur geographers will fill in according to their fancy, or on the 
reports of uncritical and untrustworthy explorers. The confidence of 
ignorance is always pretty accurately adjusted to the confidence of 
knowledge. Wherever the expert can put his foot down, and assert 
or deny with assurance, the uninstructed instinctively bow to him. He 
fearlessly asserts, for instance, that the law of the conservation of 
energy cannot be broken ; the world believes him, and the inventors 
of perpetual-motion-machines gradually die off. But suppose the 
question is of possible relations of human beings to inanimate 
things or to one another, new modes of influence, new forms 
of sensitiveness. Here responsible science can give no confident 
denial ; here, therefore, irresponsible speculation finds its chance. 


It has, no doubt, modified its language under the influence of 
half a century of brilliant physical discovery. It takes care to 
shelter its hypotheses under the name of law : the loosest of philo- 
sophers now-a-days would hesitate to appeal, as the elder Humboldt 
appealed sixty years ago, to a " sense of yearning in the human soul," 
as a proof that the course of nature may suffer exceptions.^ But 
the change is often rather in name than in fact ; the " natural " 
lends itself to free guessing quite as easily as the " supernatural " ; 
and nowhere in Nature is this freedom so unchartered as in 
the domain of psychic life. Speculation here is not only 
easy ; it is, unfortunately, also attractive. The more obscure 
phenomena and the more doubtful assumptions are just those 
on which the popular mind most readily fastens ; and the popular 
tongue rejoices in terms of the biggest and vaguest connotation. 
Something also must be set down to a natural reaction. Even 
persons whose interest has been earnest and intelligent have found 
scientific moral hard to preserve, in departments surrendered by a 
long-standing convention to unscientific treatment. Thus, in their 
practice, they have come to acquiesce in that surrender, and have 
dispensed with habits of caution for which no one was likely to give 
them credit ; while in their polemic they have as much resented the 
stringent demands for evidence, in which their opponents have been 
right, as the refusal to look at it when it is there, in which their 
opponents have been wrong. 

§ 3. The above facts, and the peculiar obligations which they 
involve, should never be lost sight of by the serious student of 
"psychical"^ phenomena. His path is one that eminently craves 
wary walking. On the one hand, he finds new dim vistas of 
study opening out, in an age whose ideal of scientific studies 
is formed from the most highly developed specimens of them ; 
and the twilight which has in every class of knowledge preceded 
the illuminating dawn of law is made doubly dark and dubious 
for him by the advanced daylight of scientific conceptions 
from which he peers into it. He finds, moreover, that the 

1 Briffe an cine Freundin, p. Gl. 

2 The specific sense which we have given to this word needs apology. But we could 
find no other convenient term, under which to embrace a group of subjects that lie 
on or outside the boundaries of recognised science, while seeming to present certain points 
of connection among themselves. For instance, this book will contain evidences of the 
relation of telepathy — its main theme — both to ?Hfs)nf /v'.s-m and to certain phenomena which 
are often, without adequate evidence, attributed to minds apart from material 


marvellous recent extension of the area of the known through 
additions to its recognised departments and multiplication of their 
connections, has inevitably and reasonably produced a certain rigidity 
of scientific attitude — an increased difficulty in breaking loose from 
association, and admitting a new department on its own independent 
evidence. And on the other hand, he finds himself more or less in 
contact with advocates of new departments who ignore the weight of 
the presumption against them — who fail to see that it is from the 
recognised departments that the standard of evidence must be drawn, 
and that if speculation is to make good its right to outrun science, it 
will certainly not be by impatience of scientific canons. On this side 
the position of the psychical student is one in which the student of 
the recognised sciences is never placed. The physicist never finds his 
observations confronted or confounded with those of persons who claim 
familiarity with his subject while ignoring his methods : he never sees 
his statements and his theories classed or compared with theirs. He is 
marked out from his neighbours by the very fact of dealing with subject- 
matter which they do not know how even to begin to talk about. The 
" psychicist " is not so marked out. His subject-matter is in large 
measure common property, of which the whole world can talk as 
glibly as he ; and the ground which must be broken for science, if at 
all, by the application of precise treatment, has already been made 
trite in connection with quite other treatment. 

§ 4. The moral is one which the authors of the present undertaking 
have every reason to lay to heart. For the endeavour of this book, 
almost throughout, is to deal with themes that are in a' sense familiar, 
by the aid, partly, of improved evidential methods, but partly also of 
conceptions which have as yet no place in the recognised psychology. 
Not, indeed, that the reader is about to be treated to any 
large amount of speculation ; facts will be very much more 
prominent than theories. Still, the facts to be adduced carry us 
at least one step beyond the accepted boundaries. What they 
prove (if we interpret them rightly) is the ability of one mind 
to impress or to be ir)ipressed by another 7)iind otiterwise than 
through the recognised channels of sense. We call the owner 
of the impressing mind the agent, and the owner of the im- 
pressed mind the percipient ; and we describe the fact of im- 
pression shortly by the term telepathy. We began by restricting 
that term to cases where the distance through which the transference 


of impressions took place far exceeded the scope of the recognised 
senses ; but it may be fairly extended to all cases of impressions 
conveyed without any affection of the percipient's recognised senses, 
whatever may be his actual distance from the agent. I of course do 
not mean by this merely that the channel of communication is unrecog- 
nised by the person impressed — as in the drawing-room pastime where 
hidden pins are found through indications which the finder receives and 
acts on without any consciousness of guidance. By the words "otherwise 
than through the recognised channels of sense," I mean that the cause 
or condition of the transferred impression is specifically unknown. It 
may sometimes be necessary or convenient to conceive it as some 
special supernormal or supersensuous ^ faculty ; and in that case 
we are undoubtedly assuming a faculty which is new — or at any 
rate is new to science. But we can at least claim that we take 
this step under compulsion ; not in the light-hearted fashion which 
formerly improvised occult forces and fluids to account for the vagaries 
of hysteria ; or which in our own day has discovered the dawn of a 
new sense, or the relic of some primeval instinct, in the ordinary 
exhibitions of the " willing-game." Our inference of an unrecognised 
mode of affection has nothing in common with such inferences as 
these ; for it has been made only after recognised modes have been 
carefully excluded. 

§ 5. It is not, however, with the ultimate conditions of the phe- 
nomena that the study of them can begin : our first business is with 
the reality, rather than with the rationale, of their occurrence. Tele- 
pathy as a system of facts is what we have to examine. Discussion 
of the nature of the novel faculty in itself, and apart from particular 
results, will be as far as possible avoided. That, if it exists, it has im- 
portant relations to various very fundamental problems — metaphysical, 
psychological, possibly even physical — can scarcely be doubted. So 
far from the scientific study of man being a region whose boundaries 
are pretty well mapped out, and which only requires to be filled in 
with further detail by physiologists and psychologists, we may come 
to perceive that we are standing only on the threshold of a vast terra 
incognita, which must be humbly explored before we can even guess 
at its true extent, or appreciate its relation to the more familiar 

1 It seems impossible to avoid these terms ; yet each needs to be guarded from a 
probable misunderstanding. Supernormal is very liable to be confounded with 
supernatural ; while supersensuous suggests a dogmatic denial of a phj^sical side to the 


realms of knowledge. But such distant visions had better not be 
lingered over. Before the philosophical aspects of the subject can be 
profitably discussed, its position as a real department of knowledge 
must be amply vindicated. This can only be done by a ^vide survey 
of evidence ; the character of the present treatise will therefore 
be mainly evidential. 

In demonstrating the reality of impressions communicated 
otherwise than through the known sensory channels, we rely on two 
distinct branches of evidence, each of which demands a special sort of 
caution. The larger portion of this work will deal with cases of 
spontaneous occurrence. Here the evidence will consist of records of 
experiences which we have received from a variety of sources — for the 
most part from living persons more or less known to us. Narratives 
of the same kind have from time to time appeared in other 
collections. These, however, have not been treated with any 
reference to a theory of telepathy such as is here set forth ; nor 
have their editors fulfilled conditions which, for reasons to be 
subsequently explained (Chap. IV.), we have felt bound to observe ; 
and we have found them of almost no assistance. In scarcely a 
single instance has a case been brought up to the standard which 
really commands attention.^ The prime essentials of testimony in 
such matters — authorities, names, dates, corroboration, the ipsissima 
verba of the witnesses — have one or all been lacking; and there 
seems to have been no appreciation of the strength of the a priori 
objections which the evidence has to overmaster, nor of the possible 
sources of error in the evidence itself It is in analysing and esti- 
mating these sources of error, and in fixing the evidential standard 
which may fairly be applied, that the most difficult part of the 
present task will be seen to consist. 

But though the records here presented will be more numerous, 
and on the whole better attested, than those of previous collections, 
the majority of them will be of a tolerably well-known type. The 
peculiarity of the present treatment will come out rather in the 
connection of this branch of our evidence with the other branch. For 
our conviction that the supposed faculty of supersensuous impression 
is a genuine one is greatly fortified by a body of evidence of an experi- 

1 An exception should perhaps be made in favour of a few of the late Mr. R. Dale 
Owen's narratives. The Rev. B. Wrey-Savile's book on Aitriaritions contains some 
careful work, but it deals chiefly with remote cases. Dr. Mayo, in his Truths contained 
in Popular Superstitions, adduces very inadequate evidence ; but he has given (p. C7) 
what is perhaps the first suggestion of a psychical exi^lanation. 


raental kind — where the conditions could be arranged in such a way 
as to exchide the chances of error that beset the spontaneous cases. 
In considering this experimental branch of our subject, I shall of 
course, after what has been said, be specially bound to make clear the 
distinction between what we hold to be genuine cases and the 
spurious " thought-reading " exhibitions which are so much better 
known. This will be easy enough, and will be done in the next 




§ 1. It is difficult to get a quite satisfactory name for the experimental 
branch of our subject. " Thought-reading " was the name that we 
first adopted ; but this had several inconveniences. Oddly enough, 
the term has got identified with what is not thoiight-reaidin.g at all, 
but W/Usc^e- reading — of which more anon. But a more serious 
objection to it is that it suggests a power to read anything that may 
be going on in the mind of another person — to probe characters and 
discover secrets — which raises a needless prejudice against the whole 
subject. The idea of such a power has, in fact, been converted into an 
ad absurduin argument against the existence of the faculty for which 
we contend. To suppose that people's minds can be thus open to one 
another, it was justly enough said, would be to contradict the assump- 
tion on which all human intercourse has been carried on. Our answer, 
of course, is that we have never supposed people's minds to be thus 
open to one another ; that such a supposition would be as remote as 
possible from the facts on which we rely ; and that the most accom- 
plished " thought-reader's " power is never likely to be a matter of 
social inconvenience. The mode of experimentation may reassure those 
who look on the genuine faculty as dangerous or uncanny ; for the 
results, as a rule, have to be tried for by a distinct, and often a very 
irksome, process of concentration on the part of the person whose 
" thought " is to be " read." And this being so, it is clearly important 
to avoid such an expression as " thought-reading," which conveys no 
hint that his thought is anything else than an open page, or that his 
mental attitude has anything to do with the phenomenon. 

The experiments involve, in fact, the will of hoo persons ; and 
of the two minds, it is rather the one which reads that is passive 
and the one which is read that is active. It is for the sake of 
recognising this that we distinguish the two parties as " agent " and 


" percipient," and that we have substituted for thought-reading the 
term thoiigJtt-transference. Thought must here be taken as including 
more than it does in ordinary usage ; it must include sensations and 
volitions as well as mere representations or ideas. This being under- 
stood, the name serves its purpose fairly well, as long as we are on 
experimental ground. It will not be forgotten, however, that our aim 
is to connect an experimental with a spontaneous class of cases ; and 
according to that view it will often be convenient to describe the 
former no less than the latter as telepathic. We thus get what 
we need, a single generic term which embraces the whole range of 
phenomena and brings out their continuity— the simpler experimental 
forms being the first step in a graduated series. 

§ 2. The history of experimental thought-transference has been a 
singular one. It was not by direct trial, nor in what we should now 
account their normal form, that the phenomena first attracted 
the attention of competent witnesses. Their appearance was con- 
nected with the discovery that the somnambulic state could be 
artificially induced. It was after the introduction of " mesmerism " 
or " magnetism " into France, and in the course of the investigation 
of that wider subject, that this special feature unexpectedly 
presented itself The observations remained, it is true, extremely few 
and scattered. The greater part of them were made in this country, 
during the second quarter of the present century; and took the 
form of community of sensation between the operator and the 
patient. The transference of impressions here depended on a 
specific rapport previously induced by mesmeric or hypnotic 
operations — passes, fixation, and the like. To us, now, this mes- 
meric rapport (in some, at any rate, of its manifestations) 
seems nothing more than the faculty of thought-transference 
confined to a single agent and percipient, and intensified in degree 
by the very conditions which limit its scope. But the course of 
discovery inverted the logical order of the phenomena. The recognition 
of the particular case, where the exercise of the faculty was narrowed 
down to a single channel, preceded by a long interval the recognition 
of the more general phenomena, as exhibited by persons in a normal 
state. The transference of impressions was naturally regarded as 
belonging essentially to mesmerism. As such, it was only one more 
wonder in a veritable wonderland ; and while obtaining on that 
account the readier acceptance among those who Avitnessed it, it to 


some extent shut out the idea of the possibiHty of similar manifesta- 
tions where no specific rapport had been artificially established. 

But there was a further result. The early connection of thought- 
transference with mesmerism distinctly damaged its chance of 
scientific recognition. Those who believed in cognate marvels might 
easily believe in this marvel : but cautious minds rejected the whole 
posse of marvels together. And one can hardly wonder at this, when 
one remembers the wild and ignorant manner in which the claims 
of Mesmer and his followers were thrust upon the world. A man who 
professed to have magnetised the sun could hardly expect a serious 
hearing ; and even the operators who eschewed such extravagant 
pretensions still too often advocated their cause in a language that 
could only cover it with contempt. Theories of " odylic " force, and of 
imponderable fluids pervading the body — as dogmatically set forth 
as if they ranked in certainty with the doctrine of the circulation of 
the blood — were not likely to attract scientific inquiry to the facts. 
And in the later developments of hypnotism — in which many of the 
old " mesmeric " phenomena have been re-studied from a truer point 
of view, and rapport of a certain sort between the hypnotist and the 
"subject" has been admitted — there has been so much to absorb 
observation in the extraordinary range of mental and physical 
effects which the operator can command by verbal or visible 
suggestion, that the far rarer telepathic phenomena have, so to speak, 
been crowded out.^ The consequence is that after nearly a century 
of controversy, the most interesting facts of mesmeric history are 
quite as little recognised as the less specialised kinds of thought- 
transference, which have only within the last few years been seriously 
looked for or definitely obtained. 

Some of the older cases referred to will be found quoted in 
extenso in the first chapter of the Supplement. Though recorded 
for the most part in a fragmentary and unsatisfactory way, it 
will be seen that they do not lack good, or even high, scientific 
authority. The testimony of Mr. Esdaile, for many years Presidency 
Surgeon in Calcutta, cannot be despised by any instructed 

1 I refer specially to the eminent group of hypnotists at Nancy— Dr. Li^beault, 
and Professors Beaunis, Bernheim, and Liegeois. Dr. Liebeault has, however, personally 
described to us several instances of apparently telepathic transference which he has 
encountered in the course of his professional experience ; and some observations recorded 
by Professor Beaunis {in his admirable article on hypnotism in the Eevue Philosophique 
for August, 1885, p. 12G), at any rate point, as he admits, to a new mode of sensibility. 
And since the above remarks were WTitten, both these gentlemen have made definite 
experiments in telepathy, some of the results of which will be found in Vol. ii., pp. 333-4 
and 657-00. 


physiologist in our day ; inasmuch as his work is now recognised as 
one of the most important contributions ever made to the rapidly- 
growing science of hypnotism. No one has denied the ability and 
integrity of Dr. Elliotson, nor (in spite of his speculative extrava- 
gances) of Reichenbach — who both witnessed instances of hypnotic 
telepathy. And though Professor Gregory, Dr. Mayo, the Rev. 
C H. Townsend, and others, may not have been men of acute 
scientific intelligence, they were probably competent to conduct, 
and to record with accuracy, experiments the conditions of which 
involved no more than common care and honesty. We cannot but 
account it strange that such items of testimony as these men supplied 
should have been neglected, even by those who were most repelled 
by the ignorance and fanaticism which infected a large amount of 
the mesmeric literature. But since such was the fact, the observations 
will hardly now make their weight felt, except in connection with 
the fuller testimony of a more recent date. It is characteristic of 
every subject which depends on questions of fact, and which has yet 
failed to win a secure place in intelligent opinion, that any further 
advance must for the most part depend on conteiwporary evidence. 
I may, therefore, pass at once to the wholly new departure in 
thought-transference which the last few years have witnessed. 

§ 3. The novelty of this departure — as has been already intimated 
— consists in the fact that successful results have been obtained when 
the percipient was apparently in a perfectly normal state, and had 
been subjected to no mesmerising or hypnotising process. The dawn 
of the discovery must be referred to the years 1875 and 1876. It 
was in the autumn of the latter year that our colleague. Professor W. 
F. Barrett, brought under the notice of the British Association, at 
Glasgow, a cautious statement of some remarkable facts which he 
had encountered, and a suggestion of the expediency of ascertaining 
how far recognised physiological laws would account for them. The 
facts themselves were connected with mesmerism;^ but the discussion 
in the Press to which the paper gave rise led to a considerable 
correspondence, in which Professor Barrett found his first hints of a 
faculty of thought-transference existing independently of the specific 
mesmeric rapport. 

That these hints happened to be forthcoming, just at the 
right moment, was a piece of great good fortune, and was due 

1 Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol. i., pp. 241-2. 


primarily to a circumstance quite uncomiected with science, and from 
which serious results would scarcely have been anticipated — the 
invention of the " willing-game." In some form or other this pastime 
is probably familiar to most of my readers, either through personal 
trials or through the exhibitions of platform performers. The ordinary 
process is this. A member of the party, who is to act as " thought- 
reader," or percipient, leaves the room ; the rest determine on some 
simple action which he, or she, is to perform, or hide some object which 
he is to find. The would-be percipient is then recalled, and his hand 
is taken or his shoulders are lightly touched by one or more of the 
willers. Under these conditions the action is often quickly performed 
or the object found. Nothing could at first sight look less like a 
promising starting-point for a new branch of inquiry. The " wilier " 
usually asserts, with perfect good faith, and often perhaps quite 
correctly, that he did not lymli ; but so little is it necessary 
for the guiding impression to be a push that it may be the 
very reverse — a slight release of tension when the " willed " 
performer, after various minute indications of a tendency to 
move in this, that, or the other wrong direction, at last hits 
on the right one. Even when the utmost care is used to main- 
tain the light contact with absolute neutrality, it is impossible to 
lay down the limits of any given subject's sensibility to such slight 
tactile and muscular hints. The experiments of Drs. Carpenter and 
Beard, and especially those of a member of our own Society, the Rev. 
E. H. Sugden, of Bradford,^ and other unpublished ones on which we 
can rely, have shown us that the difference between one person and 
another in this respect is very great, and that with some organisations 
a variation of pressure so slight that the supposed " wilier " may be 
quite unaware of exercising it, but which he applies' according as the 
movements of the other person are on the right track or not, may 
afford a kind of yes or no indication quite sufficient for a clue. 
This, indeed, is the one direct piece of instruction which the game 
has supplied. We might perhaps have been to some extent prepared 
for the result by observing the infinitesimal touches to which a 
horse will respond, or the extremely slight indications on which 
we ourselves often act in ordinary life. But till this game was 
played, probably no one fully realised that muscular hints, so slight 
as to be quite unconsciously given, could be equally unconsciously 

1 Proceedinrjs of the S.P.K.., Vol. i , p. 291 ; Vol. ii., p. 11. 


taken ; and that thus a definite course of action might be produced 
without the faintest idea of guidance on either side. In some cases 
it appeared that even contact could be dispensed with, and the 
guidance was presumably of an auditory kind — the " subject " 
extracting from the mere footsteps of the " wilier," who was following 
him about, hints of satisfaction or dissatisfaction at the course he was 
taking.^ But though this remarkable susceptibility to a particular 
order of impressions was an interesting discovery, the results which 
could be thus explained clearly involved nothing new in kind. 
That recognised faculties may exhibit unsuspected degrees of refine- 
ment is a common enough conception. The more important point was 
that there were certain results which, apparently, could not be thus 
explained, at any rate, in any off-hand way. Occasionally the actions 
required of the " willed " performer were of so complicated a sort, and 
so rapidly carried out, as to cast considerable doubt on the adequacy 
of any muscular hints to evoke and guide them. Here, then, was the 
first indication of something new — of a hitherto unrecognised faculty ; 
and by good fortune, as I have said, Professor Barrett's appeal for 
further evidence as to transferred impressions came just at the time 
when the game had obtained a certain amount of popularity, and 
when its more delicate and unaccountable phenomena had attracted 

Meanwhile similar observations were being made in America. 
America, indeed, was the original home of the " willing " entertain- 
ment ; and it is to an American, Dr. McGraw, that the credit belongs 
of having been the first (as far as I am aware) to detect in it 
the possible germ of something new to science. In the Detroit 
Revietu of Medicine for August, 1875, Dr. McGraw gave a clear 
account of the ordinary physiological process — " the perception by a 
trained operator of involuntary and unconscious muscular move- 
ments " ; and then proceeded as follows : — 

" It seemed to me that there were features in these exhibitions which 
could not be satisfactorily explained on the hypothesis of involuntary 
muscular action, for .... we are required to believe a man could 
unwillingly, and in spite of himself, give information by unconscious 
and involuntary signs that he could not give under the same circumstances 

by voluntary and conscious action It seems to me there is a 

hint towards the possibility of the nervous system of one individual being 
used by the active will of another to accomplish certain simple motions." 

1 See the record of Mr. A. E. Outerbridge's experiments, published by Dr. Beard in 
the American Popular Science Monthly for July, 1877. 


But though there might be enough in the phenomena to justify 
cautious suggestions of this sort, the ground is at best very- 
uncertain. Even where some nicety of selection is involved, 
as, for instance, when a particular note is to be struck on the 
piano, or a particular book to be taken out of a shelf, still, unless 
the subject's hand moves with extreme rapidity, it will be perfectly 
possible for an involuntary and unconscious indication to be given by 
the " wilier " at the instant that the right note or book is reached. 
In reports of such cases it is sometimes stated that there was no 
tentative process, and that the " subject's " hand seemed to obey the 
other person's will with almost the same directness as that person's 
own hand would have done. But this is a question of degree as 
to which the confidence of an eye-witness cannot easily be imparted 
to others. It may be worth while, however, to give an instance of a 
less common type by which the theory of muscular guidance does 
undoubtedly seem to be somewhat strained. 

The case was observed by Mr. Myers on October 31st, 1877. 
The performers were two sisters. 

"I wrote the letters of the alphabet on scraps of paper. I then 
thought of the word CLARA and showed it to M. behind R.'s back, R. 
sitting at the table. M. put her hands on R.'s shoulders, and R. with 
shut eyes picked out the letters C L A R V — taking the V apparently for 
a second A, which was not in the pack — and laid them in a heap. She 
did not know, she said, what letters she had selected. No impulse had 
consciously passed through her mind, only she had felt her hands impelled 
to pick up certain bits of paper. 

" This was a good case as ajjparently excluding pushing. The scraps 
were in a confused heap in front of R., who kept still further confusing 
them, picking them up and letting them drop with great rapidity. M.'s 
hands remained apparently motionless on R.'s shoulders, and one can 
hardly conceive that indications could be given by pressure, from the 
rapid and snatching manner in which R. collected the right letters, 
touching several letters in the course of a second. M., however, told me 
that it was always necessary that she, M., should see the letters which R. 
was to pick up." 

Such a case may not suggest thought-transference, but it at any 
rate tempts one to look deeper than crude sensory signs for the 
springs of action, and to conceive the governance of one organism by 
another through some sort of nervous induction. It at any rate 
differs greatly in its conditions from the famous bank-note trick, 
where a number is written on a board, so slowly, and in figures 
of so large a size, that at every point the " wilier " may mark his 


opinion of the direction the lines are taking by invokmtary muscular 

It would be useless to accumulate further instances. The best of 
them could never be wholly conclusive, and mere multiplication adds 
nothing to their weight. By some of them, as I have said, the theory 
of muscular guidance is undoubtedly strained. But then the theory 
of muscular guidance ought to be strained, and strained to the very 
utmost, before being declared inadequate ; and it would always be a 
matter of opinion whether the point of " utmost " strain had been 
overpassed. Dr. McGraw and Professor Barrett surmised that it had; 
Dr. Beard, of New York, was confident that it had not. The contention 
between " mind-reading " and " muscle-reading " could never reach a 
definite issue on this ground. But meanwhile the confident and 
exclusive adherents of the muscular hypothesis had a position of 
decided advantage over the doubters, for they could fairly enough 
represent themselves as the champions of science in its war with 
popular superstitions. The popular imagination Diore siio had 
fastened on the phenomena en bloc, and had decided that they were 
what they seemed to be — " thought-reading." To the average sight- 
seer a mysterious word is far more congenial than a physiological 
explanation ; and it was, of course, the interest of the professional 
exhibitor to adopt and advertise a description which seemed to 
invest him with novel and magical powers. What more natural, 
therefore, than that those who saw the absurdity of these pretensions 
should regard further inquiry or suspension of judgment as a 
concession to ignorant credulity ? " Irving Bishop," it seemed fair 
to argue, " is a professed ' thought-reader ' ; Irving Bishop's tricks are, 
at best, mere feats of muscular and tactile sensibility ; ergo whoever 
believes that there is such a thing as ' thought-reading 'is on a par 
with the crowd who are mystified by Irving Bishop." 

§ 4. If, then, the ground of experiment had remained unchanged — 
if the old " willing-game" had merely continued to appear in various 
forms — no definite advance could have been made. But on the path 
of the old experiments, a quite new phenomenon now presented itself, 
which no one could have confidently anticipated, but for which the 
suggestions drawn from the most advanced phenomena of the 
" willing-game " had to some extent prepared the way. It was 
discovered that not only transferences of impression could take place 
luithout contact, but that there was no necessity for the result aimed 


at to involve movements ; the fact of the transference might be 
shown, not — as in the " willing-game " — by the subject's ability to do 
something, but by his ability to discern and describe an object 
thought of by the "wilier." Both parties could thus remain perfectly 
still ; which was really a more important condition than even the 
absence of contact. In this form of experiment, muscle-reading and 
all the subtler forms of unconscious guidance are completely excluded; 
and the dangers which remain are such as can, with sufficient care, be 
clearly defined and safely guarded against. Indications of a visual kind 
— for instance, by the involuntary direction of glances — have no scope 
if the object which the percipient is to name is not present or visible 
in the room. There is, of course, an obvious danger in low whispering, 
or even soundless movements of the lips ; while the faintest accent of 
approval or disapproval in question or comment may give a hint as to 
whether the effort is tending in the right direction, and thus guide to 
the mark by successive approximations. Any exhibition of the kind 
before a promiscuous company is nearly sure to be vitiated by the 
latter source of error. But when the experiments are carried on in a 
limited circle of persons known to each other, and amenable to 
scientific control, it is not hard for those engaged to set a watch on 
their own and on each other's lips ; and questions and comments can 
be entirely forbidden. 

I have been speaking of the danger of involuntary guidance. 
There is, of course, another danger to be considered — that of 
voluntary guidance — of actual collusion between the agent and per- 
cipient. Contact being excluded, such guidance would have to be by 
signals ; and it is impossible to lay down any precise limit to the 
degree of perfection that a plan of signalling may reach. The long 
and short signs of the Morse code admit of many varieties of 
application ; and though the channels of sight and touch may be cut 
off, it is difficult entirely to cut off that of hearing. Shufflings of the 
feet, coughs, irregularities of breathing, all offer available material. 
But though the precise line of possibilities in this direction cannot be 
drawn, we are at any rate able to suggest cases where the line would 
be clearly overpassed. For instance, if the idea to be transferred 
from the agent to the percipient is inexpressible in less than twenty 
words ; and if hearing is the only sensory channel left open ; and if it 
is carefully observed that there are no coughs or shufflings, and that 
the agent's breathing appears regular, then one seems justified in say- 
ing that the necessary information could not be conveyed by a code 


without a very considerable expenditure of time, and a very abnor- 
mally acute sense of hearing on the percipient's part. There is no re- 
lation whatever between a private experiment performed under such 
conditions as these, and the feats of a conjurer, like Mr. Maskelyne, 
who commands secret apparatus, and whose every word and gesture 
may be observed and interpreted by a concealed confederate. 

It Avould be rash, however, to represent as crucial any apparent 
transferences of thought between persons not absolutely separated, 
where the good faith of at least one of the two is not accepted as 
beyond question, and where the genuineness of the result is left to 
depend on the perfection with which third parties have arranged 
conditions and guarded against signs. The conditions of a crucial 
result, for one's own mind, are either (1) that the agent or the 
percipient shall be oneself ; or (2) that the agent or percipient shall 
be someone whose experience, as recorded by himself, is indis- 
tinguishable in certainty from one's own ; or (3) that there shall be 
several agents or percipients, in the case of each of whom the 
improbability of deceit, or of such imbecility as would take the place 
of deceit, is so great that the combination of improbabilities amounts 
to a moral impossibility. The third mode of attaining conviction is 
the most practically important. For it is not to be expected of most 
people that, within a short time, they will either themselves be, or 
have intimate friends who are, successful agents or percipients ; and 
they are justified, therefore, in demanding that the evidence to which 
they might fairly refuse credence if it depended on the veracity and 
intelligence of one or two persons, of however unblemished a 
reputation, shall be multiplied for their benefit. Whatever be the 
experimenter's assurance as to the perfection of his conditions, it is 
in the nature of things impossible that strangers, who only read and 
have not seen, should be infected by it. They cannot be absolutely 
certain that this, that, or the other stick might not break ; then 
enough sticks must be collected and tied together to make a faggot of 
a strength which shall defy suspicion.^ As regards the experiments 

1 In reference to the objection that the demand for qunntity of evidence shows that 
we know the qualitij of each item to be bad, I may (juote the following' passage from a 
l)residential addi'ess of Professor Sidgwick's : " The quality of much of our evidence — 
when considered apart from the strangeness of the matters to which it refers — is not bad, 
but verj- good : it is such that one or two items of it would be held to establish the 
occurrence, at any particular time and place, of any phenomenon whose existence was 
generally accepted. Since, however, on this subject the best single testimony only yields 
an improhiihility of the teatimoiii/ heini! false that i» outweighed by the improbability of 
the fact bcinij true, the only way to make the scale fall on the side of the testimonj- is to 
increase the quantity. If the testimony were not good, this increase of quantity would 

c 2 


of which I am about to present a sketch, it is not necessary to my 
argument that any individual's honesty shall be completely assumed, 
in the sense of being used as a certain basis for conclusions. The 
proof must depend on the number of persons, reputed honest and. 
intelligent, to whom dishonesty or imbecility must be attributed if the 
conclusions are wrong, i.e., it must be a cumulative proof. Not that 
my colleagues and I have any doubt as to the bona fides of every case 
here recorded. But even where our grounds of certainty are most 
obvious, they cannot be made entirely obvious to those to whom we 
and our more intimate associates are personally unknown; while outside 
this inner circle our confidence depends on points that can scarcely 
even be suggested to others — on views of character gradually built up 
out of a number of small and often indefinable items of conversation 
and demeanour. We may venture to say that a candid critic, present 
during the whole course of the experiments, would have carried away 
a far more vivid impression of their genuineness than any printed 
record can convey. But it must be distinctly understood that we 
discriminate our cases ; and that even where the results are to our 
own minds crucial — in that they can only be impugned by impugning 
the honesty or sanity of members of our own investigating Committee 
— we do not demand their acceptance on this ground alone, or 
attempt accurately to define the number of reputations which should 
be staked before a fair mind oagJtt to admit the proof as over- 
whelming. As observations are accumulated, different "fair minds" 
will give in at different points ; and until the most exacting are 
satisfied, our task will be incomplete. ' 

§ 5. I mentioned above the correspondence which, followed Pro- 
fessor Barrett's appeal for evidence. In this correspondence, among 
many instances of the higher aspects of the " willing-game," there was a 
small residue which pointed to a genuine transference of impression 
without contact or movement. Of this residue the most important 
item was that supplied by our friend, the Rev. A. M. Creery, then 

be of little value ; but if it is such that the hypothesis of its falsity requires us to suppose 
abnormal motiveless deceit, or abnormal stupidity or carelessness, in a person hitherto 
reputed honest and intelligent, then an increase in the number of cases in which such a 
supposition is required adds im])ortantly to the improbability of the general hypothesis. 
It is sometimes said by loose thinkers that the ' moral factor ' ought not to come in at all. 
But the least reflection shows that the moral factor must come in in all the reasonings of 
experimental science, except for those who have jjersonally repeated all the experiments 
on which their conclusions are based. Any one who accepts the report of the e.xperiments 
of another must rely, not only on his intelligence, but on his honesty : only ordinarily his 
honesty is so completely assumed that the assumption is not noticed." 


resident at Buxton, and now working in the diocese of Manchester, 
He had his attention called to the subject in October, 1880 ; and was 
early struck by the impossibility of deciding, in cases where contact 
was employed, how far the powers of unconscious muscular guidance 
might extend. He, therefore, instituted experiments with his 
daughters and with a young maid-servant, in which contact was 
altogether eschewed. He thus describes the early trials : — 

" Each went out of the room in turn, while I and the others fixed on 
some object which the absent one was to name on returning to the room. 
After a few trials the successes preponderated so much over the failures 
that we were all convinced there was something very wonderful coming 
under our notice. Mght after niglit, for several months, we spent an 
hour or two each evening in varying the conditions of the experiments, 
and choosing new subjects for tliought-transference. We began by 
selecting the simplest objects in the room ; tlien chose names of towns, 
names of people, dates, cards out of a pack, lines from different poems, 
cfec, in fact any things or series of ideas that those present could keep 
steadily before their minds ; and when the children were in good humour, 
and excited by the wonderful nature of their successful guessing, they very 
seldom made a mistake. I have seen seventeen cards, chosen by myself, 
named right in succession, without any mistake. We soon found that a 
great deal depended on the steadiness with which the ideas were kept 
before the minds of ' the thinkers,' and upon the energy with which tliey 
willed the ideas to pass. Our worst experiments before strangers have 
invariably been when the company was dull and undemonstrative : 
and we are all convinced that when mistakes are made, the fault rests, for 
the most part, with the thinkers, rather than with the thought-readers." 

In the course of the years 1881 and 1882, a large number of 
experiments were made with the Creery family, first by Professor 
Barrett, then by Mr. and Mrs. Sidgwick, by Professor Balfour Stewart, 
F.R.S., and Professor Alfred Hopkinson, of Owens College, Manchester, 
and, after the formation of the Society for Psychical Research, by the 
Thought-transference Committee of that body, of which Mr. Myers 
and myself were members. The children in turn acted as " percipients," 
the other persons present being " agents," i.e., concentrating their 
minds on the idea of some selected word or thing, with the intention 
that this idea should be transferred to the percipient's mind. The 
thing selected was either a card, taken at random from a full pack ; or 
a name chosen also at random ; or a number, usually of two figures ; 
or occasionally some domestic implement or other object in the house. 
The percipient was, of course, absent when the selection was made, 
and when recalled had no means of discovering through the exercise 
of the senses what it was, unless by signals, consciously or uncon- 


sciously given by one or other of the agents. Strict silence was 
maintained throughout each experiment, and when the group of 
agents included any members of the Creery family, the closest watch 
was kept in order to detect any passage of signals ; but in hundreds 
of trials nothing was observed which suggested any attempt of the 
sort. Still, such simple objects would not demand an elaborate code 
for their description ; nor were any effective means taken to block 
the percipient's channels of sense — it being thought expedient 
in these early trials not to disturb their minds by obtrusive pre- 
cautions. We could not, therefore, regard the testimony of the 
investigators present as adding much weight to the experiments in 
which any members of the family were among the group of agents, 
unless the percipient was completely isolated from that group. Such 
a case was the following : — 

"Easter, 1881. Present: Mr. and Mrs. Creery and family, and W. 
F. Barrett, the narrator. One of the children was sent into an adjoining 
room, the door of which I saw was closed. On returning to the sitting- 
room and closing its door also, I thought of some object in the house, 
fixed upon at random ; writing the name down, I sliowed it to the family 
present, the strictest silence being preserved throughout. We then all 
silently thought of the name of the thing selected. In a few seconds 
the door of the adjoining room was heard to open, and after a very 
short interval the child would enter the sitting-room, generally with 
the object selected. No one was allowed to leave the sitting-room after 
the object had been fixed upon ; no communication with the child was 
conceivable, as her place was often changed. Further, the only instruc- 
tions given to the child were to fetch some object in the house that I would 
fix upon, and, together with the family, silently keep in mind, to the 
exclusion, as far as possible, of all other ideas. In this way I wrote 
down, among other things, a hair-hrush ; it was brought : an orange ; it 
was brought : a wine glass ; it was brought : an apiile ; it was brought : 
a toasting-fork ; failed on the first attempt, a pair of tongs being 
brought, but on a second trial it was brought. With another child 
(among other trials not here mentioned) a cuj) was written down by me ; 
it was brought : a saucer ; this was a failure, a plate being brought ; 
no second trial allowed. The child being told it was a saucer, replied, 
' That came into my head, but I hesitated as I thought it unlikely you 
would name saucer after cup, as being too easy.' " 

But, of course, the most satisfactory condition was that only the 
members of the investigating Committee should act as agents, so that 
signals could not possibly be given unless by one of thevi. This con- 
dition clearly makes it idle to represent the means by which the 
transferences took place as simply a trick which the members of the 
investigating Committee failed to detect. The trick, if trick there 


was, must have been one in which they, or one of them, actively 
shared ; the only alternative to collusion on their part being some 
piece of carelessness amounting almost to idiocy — such as uttering 
the required word aloud, or leaving the selected card exposed on the 
table. The following series of experiments was made on April 13th, 
1882. The agents were Mr. Myers and the present writer, and two 
ladies of their acquaintance, the Misses Mason, of Morton Hall, Retford, 
who had become interested in the subject by the remarkable successes 
which one of them had obtained in experimenting among friends.^ 
As neither of these ladies had ever seen any member of the Creery 
family till just before the experiments began, they had no oppor- 
tunities for arranging a code of signals with the children ; so that 
any hypothesis of collusion must in this case be confined to Mr. 
Myers or the present writer. As regards the hj^othesis of %uant of 
intelligence, the degree of intelligent behaviour required of each of 
the four agents was simply this : (1) To keep silence on a particular 
subject ; and (2) to avoid unconsciously displaying a particular card 
or piece of paper to a person situated at some yards'^ distance. The 
first condition was realised by keeping silence altogether ; the second 
by remaining quite still. The four observers were perfectly satisfied 
that the children had no means at any moment of seeing, either 
directly or by reflection, the selected card or the name of the selected 
object. The following is the list of trials : — 

Objects to be named. (These objects had been brought, and still remained, 
in the pocket of one of the visitors. The name of the object selected 
for trial was secretly written down, not spoken.) 

A WJiite Penknife. — Correctly named, with the colour, the first trial. 

Box of Almotids. — Correctly named. 

Threepenny piece. — Failed. 

Box of Chocolate. — Button-box said ; no second trial given. 

(A penknife was then hidden ; but the place was not discovered.) 

Numbers to be named. 

Five. — Rightly given on the first trial. 
Fourteen. — Failed. 

Thirty-three.— bi (No). 34 (No). 33 (Right). 
Sixty-eight.— b^ (No). 57 (No). 78 (No). 

Fictitious names to be guessed. 

Martha Billiiigs. — -"Biggis " was said. 

1 See Miss Mason's interesting paper on the subject in Macmillaii' s Magazine for 
October, 1882. 


Catherine Smith. — " Catherine Shaw " was said. 
Henry Cowper. — Failed. 

Cards to be named. 

Two of clubs. — Right first time. 

Queen of diamonds. — Right first time. 

Four of spades. — Failed. 

Four of hearts. — Right first time. 

King of hearts. — Right first time. 

Two of diamonds. — Right first time. 

Ace of hearts. — Right first time. 

Nine of spades. — Right first time. 

Five of diamonds. — Four of diamonds (No). Four of hearts (No). 

Five of diamonds (Right). 
Ttvo of spades. — Right first time. 

Eight of diamonds. — Ace of diamonds said ; no second trial given. 
Three of hearts. — Right first time. 
Five of clubs. — Failed. 
Ace of spades. — Failed. 

The chances against accidental success in the case of any one 
card are, of course, 51 to 1 ; yet out oi fourteen successive trials nine 
were successful at the first guess, and only three trials can be said to 
have been complete failures. The odds against the occurrence of the 
five successes running, in the card series, are considerably over 
1,000,000 to 1. On none of these occasions was it even remotely 
possible for the child to obtain by any ordinary means a knowledge 
of the object selected. Our own facial expression was the only index 
open to her ; and even if we had not purposely looked as neutral as 
possible, it is difficult to imagine how we could have unconsciously 
carried, say, the two of diamonds written on our foreheads. 

During the ensuing year, the Committee, consisting of Professor 
Barrett, Mr. Myers, and the present writer, made a number of experi- 
ments under similar conditions, which excluded contact and movement, 
and which confined the knowledge of the selected object — and, 
therefore, the chance of collusion with the percipient — to their own 
group. In some of these trials, conducted at Cambridge, Mrs. F. 
W. H. Myers and Miss Mason also took part. In a long series con- 
ducted at Dublin, Professor Barrett was alone with the percipient. 
Altogether these scrupulously guarded trials amounted to 497 ; and 
of this number 95 were completely successful at the first guess, and 
45 at the second. The results may be clearer if arranged in a tabular 






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^ ^ 





* -1- 



Mr. F. Y. Edge worth, to whom these results were submitted, and 
who calculated the final column of the Table, has kmdly appended 
the following remarks : — 

" These observations constitute a chain or rather coil of evidence, 
which at first sight and upon a general view is seen to be very strong, 
but of which the full strength cannot be appreciated until the con- 
catenation of the parts is considered. 

"Viewed as a whole the Table presents the following data. There 
are in all 497 trials. Out of these thei'e are 95 successes at the first 
guess. The number of successes most probable on the hypothesis of mere 
chance is 27. The problem is one of the class which I have discussed 
in the Proceedings of the S. P. R., Vol. III., p. 190, &c. The 
approximative formula there given is not well suited to the present case,i 
in which the number of successes is very great, the probability of their 
being due to mere chance very small, in relation to the total number of 
trials. It is better to proceed directly according to the method employed 
in the paper referred to (p. 198) for the appreciation of M. Richet's 
result EPJYEIOD [see below, p. 75]. By this method,^ with the 
aid of appropriate tables,^ I find for the probability that the observed 
total of successes have resulted from some other agency than pure chance 
•999, 999, 999, 999, 999, 999, 999, 999, 98 

" Stupendous as is this probability it falls short of that which the 
complete solution of our problem yields. For, measuring and joining all 
the links of evidence according to the methods described in the paper 
referred to, I obtain a row of thirty-four nines following a decimal point. 
A fortiori, if we take account of the second guesses. 

" These figures more impressively than any words proclaim the 
certainty that the recorded observations must have resulted either from 
collusion on the part of those concerned (the hypothesis of illusion being 
excluded by the simplicity of the experiments), or from thought- 
transference of the sort which the investigators vindicate." 

A large number of trials were also made in which the group of 
agents included one or more of the Creery family ; and as bearing on 
the hypothesis of an ingenious family trick, it is worth noting that — 
except where Mr. Creery himself was thus included — the percentage 
of successes was, as a rule, not appreciably higher under these 
conditions than when the Committee alone were in the secret.* When 

1 The formula is adequate to prove that an inferior limit of the sought probability 

" Owing to the rapid convergency of the series which we have to sum, it will be found 
sufficient to evaluate two or three terms. 

3 Tables of Logarithms, and of the values of log F (a; + 1). 

■* Here, for instance, is Professor Barrett's record of a casual trial made on August 4th, 
1882 — only he and Mrs. Myers knowing the card selected. Eight cards were successively 
drawn from a pack ; of these, three were guessed completely right — two of them at the 
first attempt and the third at the second attempt ; in this last case the first guess was the 
nine of clubs, and the second the nine of spades, that being the card chosen. In addition to 
these the suit was given rightly three out of the remaining five times, the pips or court 
card twice out of the five. Immediately after this experiment the two younger sisters of 


Mr. Creery was among the agents, the average of success was far 
higher ; ^ but his position in the affair was precisely the same as our 
own ; and the most remarkable results were obtained while he was 
himself still in a state of doubt as to the genuineness of the 
phenomena which he was investigating. 

One further evidential point should be noted. Supposing such 
a thing as a genuine faculty of thought-transference to exist, and to 
be capable, for example, of evoking in one mind the idea of a card on 
which other minds are concentrated, we might naturally expect that 
the card-pictures conveyed to the percipient would present various 
degrees of distinctness, and that there would be a considerable number 
of aiJiyroxlmate guesses, as they might be given by a person who was 
allowed one fleeting glimpse at a card in an imperfect light. Such 
a person might often fail to name the card correctly, but his failures 
would be apt to be far more nearly right than those of another 
person who was simply guessing without any sort of guidance. This 
expectation was abundantly confirmed in our experiments. Thus, in 
a series of 32 trials, where only 5 first guesses were completely 
right, the suit was 14 times running named correctly on the first 
trial, and reiterated on the second. Knave was very frequently 
guessed as King, and vice versa, the suit being given correctly. 

the guesser were called in and allowed to know the card chosen by Mrs. Myers and 
Professor Barrett. The results, compared with the preceding, were as follows : — 

In the absence of the sisters. Eight exijeriments. Two complete successes on the 
first attempt and one on the second. 

With the assistance of the sisters as agents. Seven experiments. Two complete 
successes on the first attempt and one on the second. 

And to make the coincidence more curious, the partial successes were identical in 
number in the two series. 

1 Even the successes obtained when Mr. Creery was helping us were less remark- 
able than those which, according to his records, had been obtained in the earlier trials, 
when the whole affair was regarded as an evening's amusement, and the children were 
without any sort of (jene or anxiety. Still, with his assistance, we have had such 
successes as the following. Out of 31 trials with cards (the chances against suc- 
cess by accident being in each case 51 to 1) 17 rightly guessed at the first attempt, 
9 at the second, 4 at the third ; 8 consecutive successes in naming cards drawn 
at random from a full pack ; and the following series, where the names on the left hand, 
written down at random by one of ourselves, are what the agents silently concentrated 
their minds on, and the names on the right hand are what the percipient said, usually 
in two or three seconds after the experiment began : — 

WiUiam Stubbs. — William Stubbs. 

Elizd Holmes. — Eliza H 

Isaac Hardinij. — Isaac Harding. 

Sojjliia Shaio. — Sophia Shaw. 

Hester Willis. — Cassandra, then Hester Wilson. 

John Jones. — .John Jones. 

Timothy Tat/lor.— Tom, then Timothy Taylor. 

Esther C>y?f-'— Esther Ogle. 

Arthur Hi[igins. — Arthur Higgins. 

Alfred Henderson. — Alfred Henderson. 

Amy Frogmore. — Amy Freemore. Amy Frogmore. 

Albert Snelgrove. — Albert Singrore. Albert Grover. 


The number of pips named was in many cases only one off the right 
number, this sort of faikire being specially frequent when the 
number was over six. Again, the correct answer was often given, 
as it were, piecemeal — in two partially incorrect guesses — the pips 
or picture being rightly given at the first attempt, and the suit 
at the second ; and in the same way with numbers of two figures, one 
of them would appear in the first guess and the other in the second.^ 
Before we leave these early experiments, one interesting question 
presents itself, which has an important bearing on the wider subject 
of this book. In what form was the impression flashed on the 
percipient's mind ? What were the respective parts in the 
phenomena played by the mental eye and the mental ear ? The 
points just noticed in connection with the partial guessing of cards 
seem distinctly in favour of the mental eye. A king looks like a 
knave, but the names have no similarity. So with numbers. 35 is 
guessed piecemeal, the answers being 45 and 43 ; so 57 is attempted as 
47 and 45. Now the similarity in sound between three and thirty in 
43 and 35, or between five and fifty in 45 and 57, is not extremely 
strong ; while the 'picture of the 3 or the 5 is identical in either pair. 
On the other hand, names of approximate sound were often given 
instead of the true ones ; as " Chester " for Leicester, " Biggis " for 

' To illustrate these various points, I \vill give one series where the success was below 

the average. 

Cambridge, August Brd, 1882. 

Miss Mary Creery was outside the closed and locked door, — a thick and well-fitting one — 
and a yard or two from it, under the close observation of a member of the 
Committee, who observed her attentively. A card was chosen by one of the 
Committee cutting a pack ; the fact that the card had been selected was indicated 
to the guesser b> a single tap on the door. The selected cai'd was placed in view 
of all the agents, who regarded it intently. After the guesser had named a card 
loudly enough to be heard through the door, the word " No " or " Right," as the 
case might be, was said by one of the Committee ; otherwise complete silence 

The cards chosen are printed on the left, the guesses on the right. Two guesses only 
were allowed. 

1. Three of hearts. — Ten of spades (No). King of clubs (No). 

2. Seven of clubs. — Nine of diamonds (No). Seven of hearts (No). 

3. Ten of diamonds. — Queen of spades (No). Ten of diamonds (Right). 

4. Eight of spades. — King of clubs (No). Ten of s/7afZcs (No). 

5. Nine of hearts. — Nine of clubs (No). Ace of hearts (No). 

6. Three of diamonds. — Six of diamonds (No). Ten of diamonds (No). 

7. Knave of spades. — ^?'n// of spades (No). Queen of clubs (No). 

8. Six of spades. — Six of spades (Right). 

9. Queen of clubs . — Queen of diamonds (No). Ten of cZw6s (No). 
10. Two of clubs. — Ten of diamonds (No). Ace of diamonds (No). 

Here there were only two complete successes ; and in tabulating results and computing 
averages we should of course count all the trials excejit the third and eighth as complete 
failures. But the result numbered 7 was on the verge of complete success ; in 5 and 9 the 
correct description was given piecemeal ; and in 2 the number of pips was correctly 


Billings, " Freemore " for Frogmore. Snelgrove was reproduced as 
" Singrore " ; the last part of the name was soon given as " Grover," 
and the attempt was then abandoned — the child remarking afterwards 
that she thought of " Snail " as the first syllable, but it had seemed to 
her too ridiculous. Professor Barrett, moreover, successfully obtained 
a German word of which the percipient could have formed no visual 
image.^ The children's own account was usually to the effect that 
they " seemed to see " the thing ; but this, perhaps, does not come to 
much ; as a known object, however suggested, is likely to be instantly 
visualised. On the whole, then, the conclusion seems to be that, with 
these " subjects," both modes of transference were possible ; and that 
they prevailed in turn, according as this or that was better adapted 
to the particular case. 

§ 6. I have dwelt at some length on our series of trials with the 
members of the Creery family, as it is to those trials that we owe 
our own conviction of the possibility of genuine thought-transference 
between persons in a normal state. I have sufficiently explained that 
we do not expect the results to be as crucial for persons who were not 
present, and to whom we are ourselves unknown, as they were for us ; 
and that it cannot be " in the mouth of two or three witnesses " only 
that such a stupendous fact as the transmission of ideas otherwise 
than through the recognised sensory channels will be established. 
The testimony must be multiplied ; the responsibility must be spread ; 
and I shall immediately proceed to describe further results obtained 
with other agents and other percipients. But first it may perhaps be 
asked of us why we did not exploiter this remarkable family further. 
It was certainly our intention to do what we could in this direction, 
and by degrees to procure for our friends an opportunity of judging 
for themselves. This point, however, was one which could only be 
cautiously pressed. Mr. Creery was certainly justified in regarding 
his daughters as something more than mere subjects of experiments, 
and in hesitating to make a show of them to persons who might, or 
rather who reasonably must, begin by entertaining grave doubts as to 
their good faith. It must be remembered that we were dealing, not 
with chemical substances, but with youthful minds, liable to be reduced 
to confusion by anything in the demeanour of visitors w^hich inspired 
distaste or alarm ; and even with the best intentions, " a childly way 

1 In an account of some experiments with words, which we have received from a 
correspondent, it is stated that success was decidedly more marked in cases where there 
was a broad vowel sound. 


with children " is not easy to adopt where the children concerned are 
objects of suspicious curiosity. More especially might these considera- 
tions have weight, when failure was anticipated for the first attempts 
made under new conditions. And this suggests another difficulty, which 
has more than once recurred in the experimental branches of our 
work. The would-be spectators themselves may be unable or unwilling 
to fulfil the necessary conditions. Before introducing them, it is in- 
dispensable to obtain some guarantee that they on their part will 
exercise patience, make repeated trials, and give the " subjects " a fair 
opportunity of getting used to their presence. Questions of mood, of 
goodwill, of familiarity, may hold the same place in psychical investi- 
gation as questions of temperature in a physical laboratory ; and till 
this is fully realised, it will not be easy to multiply testimony to the 
extent that we should desire. 

In the case of the Creery family, however, we met with a difficulty 
of another kind. Had the faculty of whose existence we assured our- 
selves continued in full force, it would doubtless have been possible in 
time to bring the phenomena under the notice of a sufficient number 
of painstaking and impartial observers. But the faculty did not con- 
tinue in full force ; on the contrary, the average of successes gradually 
declined, and the children regretfully acknowledged that their 
capacity and confidence were deserting them. The decline was 
equally observed even in the trials which they held amongst them- 
selves ; and it had nothing whatever ,to do with any increased 
stringency in the precautions adopted. No precautions, indeed, could 
be stricter than that confinement to our own investigating group 
of the knowledge of the idea to be transferred, which was, from the 
very first, a condition of the experiments on which we absolutely 
relied. The fact has just to be accepted, as an illustration of the 
fleeting character which seems to attach to this and other forms 
of abnormal sensitiveness. It seems probable that the telepathic 
faculty, if I may so name it, is not an inborn, or lifelong possession ; 
or, at any rate, that very slight disturbances may suffice to paralyse 
it. The Creerys had their most startling successes at first, when the 
affair was a surprise and an amusement, or later, at short and 
seemingly casual trials ; the decline set in with their sense that the 
experiments had become matters of weighty importance to us, and of 
somewhat prolonged strain and tedioiisness to them. So, on a minor 
scale, in trials among our own friends, we have seen a fortunate 
evening, when the spectators were interested and the percipient 


excited and confident, succeeded by a series of failures when the 
results were more anxiously awaited. It is almost inevitable that a 
percipient who has aroused interest by a marked success on several 
occasions, should feel in a way responsible for further results ; and 
yet any real pre-occupation with such an idea seems likely to be 
fatal. The conditions are clearly unstable. But of course the first 
question for science is not whether the phenomena can be produced 
to order, but whether in a sufficient number of series the proportion 
of success to failure is markedly above the probable result of chance. 

§ 7. Before leaving this class of experiments, I may mention an 
interesting development which it has lately received. In the Revue 
Philosophlqiie for December, 1884, M. Ch. Richet, the well-known 
savant and editor oHheRevue Scientifique,])uh\ished a paper, entitled 
" La Suggestion Mentale et le Calcul des Probabilites," in the first 
part of- which an account is given of some experiments with 
cards precisely similar in plan to those above described. A card 
being drawn at random out of a pack, the " agent " fixed his 
attention on it, and the " percipient " endeavoured to name it. 
But M. Richet's method contained this important novelty — that 
though the success, as judged by the results of any particular series 
of trials, seemed slight (showing that he was not experimenting with 
what we should consider "good subjects"), he made the trials on a 
sufficiently extended scale to bring out the fact that the right guesses 
were on the whole, though not strikingly, above the number that 
pure accident would account for, and that their total was considerably 
above that number. 

This observation involves' a new and striking application of the 
calculus of probabilities. Advantage is taken of the fact that the 
larger the number of trials made under conditions where success 
is purely accidental, the more nearly will the total number of successes 
attained conform to the figure which the formula of probabilities 
srives. For instance, if some one draws a card at random out of a full 
pack, and before it has been looked at by anyone present I make a 
guess at its suit, my chance of being right is, of course, 1 in 4. 
Similarly, if the process is repeated 52 times,the most probable number 
of successes, according to the strict calculus of probabilities, is 18 ; in 
520 trials the most probable number of successes is 130. Now, if we 
consider only a short series of 52 guesses, I may be accidentally right 
many more times than 13 or many less times. But if the series be 


prolonged — if 520 guesses be allowed instead of 52 — the actual 
number of successes will vary from the probable number within much 
smaller limits ; and if we suppose an indefinite prolongation, the 
proportional divergence between the actual and the probable number 
will become infinitely small. This being so, it is clear that if, in a 
very short series of trials, we find a considerable difference between 
the actual number of successes and the probable number, there is no 
reason for regarding this difference as anything but purely accidental ; 
but if we find a similar difference in a very long series, we are 
justified in surmising that some condition beyond mere accident has 
been at work. If cards be drawn in succession jfrom a pack, and I 
guess the suit rightly in 3 out of 4 trials, I shall be foolish to be 
surprised ; but if I guess the suit rightly in 3,000 out of 4,000 
trials, I shall be equally foolish not to be surprised. 

Now M. Richet continued his trials until he had obtained a con- 
siderable total ; and the results were such as at any rate to suggest that 
accident had not ruled undisturbed — that a guiding condition had 
been introduced, which affected in the right direction a certain small 
percentage of the guesses made. That condition, if it existed, could 
be nothing else than the fact that, prior to the guess being made, a 
person in the neighbourhood of the guesser had concentrated his 
attention on the card drawn. Hence the results, so far as they go, 
make for the reality of the faculty of " mental suggestion." The 
faculty, if present, was clearly only slightly developed ; whence the 
necessity of experimenting on a very large scale before its genuine 
influence on the numbers could be even surmised. 

Out of 2,927 trials at guessing the suit of a card, drawn at 
random, and steadily looked at by another person, the actual number 
of successes was 789 ; the most probable number, had pure accident 
ruled, was 732. The total was made up of thirty-nine series of dif- 
ferent lengths, in which eleven persons took part, M. Richet himself 
being in some cases the guesser, and in others the person who looked 
at the card. He observed that when a large number of trials were 
made at one sitting, the aptitude of both persons concerned seemed 
to be dtiected ; it became harder for the " agent " to visualise, and the 
proportion of successes on the guesser's part decreased. If we agree 
to reject from the above total all the series in which over 100 trials 
were consecutively made, the numbers become more striking.^ Out of 

It should be remarked, however, that the introduction of any principle of selection, 
rifter one experiment, is always objectionable. For some more or less plausible reason could 
probably always be found for setting aside the less favourable results. 


1,888 trials, he then got 510 successes, the most probable number 
being only 458 ; that is to say, the actual number exceeds the 
most probable number by about iV 

Clearly no definite conclusion could be based on such figures as 
the above. They at most contained a hint for more extended trials, 
but a hint, fortunately, which can be easily followed up. We are 
often asked by acquaintances what they can do to aid the progress 
of psychical research. These experiments suggest a most convenient 
answer ; for they can be repeated, and a valuable contribution 
made to the great aggregate, by any two persons who have a pack of 
cards and a little perseverance.^ 

Up to the time that I write, we have received, in all, the results 
of 17 batches of trials in the guessing of suits. In 11 of the batches 
one person acted as agent and another as percipient throughout : the 
other 6 batches are the collective results of trials made by as many 
groups of friends. The total number of trials was 17,653, and the 
total number of successes was 4,760 ; which exceeds by 347 the 
number which was the most probable if chance alone acted. The 
probability afforded by this result for the action of a cause other 
than chance is '999,999,98 — or practical certainty.^ I need hardly say 
that there has been here no selection of results ; all who undertook 
the trials were specially requested to send in their report, whatever 
the degree of success or unsuccess ; and we have no reason to 
suppose that this direction has been ignored. It is thus an 
additional point of interest that in only one of the batches did the 
result fall helow the number which was the most probable one for 
mere chance to give. And if we take only those batches, 10 in 
number, in which a couple of experimenters made as many as 1,000 
trials and over, the probability of a cause other than chance which 
the group of results yields is estimated by one method to be 
•999,999,999,96, and by another to be -999,999,999,999,2. 

To this record must be added another, not less striking, of 
experiments which, (though part of the same effort to obtain large 
collective results,) differed in form from the above, and could not, 

1 The rules to observe are these : (1) The number of trials contemplated (1,000, 2,000, 
or whatever it may be) should be specified beforehand. (2) Not more than 50 trials should 
be made on any one occasion. (3) The agent should draw the card at random, and cut 
the pack between each draw. (4) The success or failure of each guess should be silently 
recorded, and the percipient should be kept in ignorance of the results until the whole 
series is completed. The results should be sent to meat 14, Dean's Yard, S.W. 

- For these calculations we have again to thank Mr. F. Y. Edgeworth. For an 
explanation of the methods employed, see his article in Vol. iii. of the Proceedings of 
the S.P.R., already referred to, and also his paper on " Methods of Statistics " {sub. fin.)i 
in the Journal of the Statistical Society for 1885. 



therefore, figure in the aggregate. Thus, in a set of 976 trials, carried 
out by Miss B. Lindsay (late of Girton College), and a group of 
friends, where the choice was between 6 uncoluured forms — 
9 specimens of each being combined in a pack from which the agent 
drew at random — the total of right guesses was 198, the odds against 
obtaining that degree of success by chance being 1,000 to 1. 
In another case, the choice lay between 4 things, but these were 
not suits, but simple colours — red, blue, green, and yellow. The 
percipient throughout was Mr. A. J. Shilton, of 40, Paradise Street, 
Birmingham ; the agent (except in one small group, when Professor 
Poynting, of Mason College, acted) was Mr. G. T Cashmore, 
of Albert Poad, Handsworth. Out of 505 trials, 261 were successes. 
The probability here afforded of a cause other than chance is con- 
siderably more than a trillion trillions to 1. And still more 
remarkable is the result obtained by the Misses Wingfield, of The 
Redings, Totteridge, in some trials where the object to be guessed was 
a number of two digits — i.e., one of the 90 numbers included in the 
series from 10 to 99 — chosen at random by the agent. Out of 2,624 
trials, where the most probable number of successes was 29, the 
actual number obtained was no less than 275 — to say nothing of 78 
other cases in which the right digits were guessed in the reverse 
order. In the last 506 trials the agent (who sat some 6 feet behind 
the percipient) drew the numbers at random out of a bowl ; the odds 
against the accidental occurrence of the degree of success — 21 right 
guesses — obtained in this batch are over 2,000,000 to 1. The argu- 
ment for thought-transference afforded by the total of 275 cannot 
be expressed here in figures, as it requires 167 nines — that is, the 
probability is far more than the ninth power of a trillion to 1. 

Card-experiments of the above type offer special conveniences for 
the very extended trials which we wish to see carried out : they are 
easily made and rapidly recorded. At the same time it must not be 
assumed that the limitation of the field of choice to a very small 
number of known objects is a favourable condition ; it is probably 
the reverse. For from the descriptions which intelligent percipients 
have given it would seem that the best condition is a sort of inward 
blankness, on which the image of the object, sometimes suddenly 
but often only gradually, takes shape. And this inward blankness 
is hard to ensure when the objects for choice are both few 
and known. For their images are then apt to importune the mind, 
and to lead to guessing ; the little procession of them marches so 


readily across the mental stage that it is difficult to drive it off, and 
wait for a single image to present itself independently. Moreover 
idiosyncrasies on the guessor's part have the opportunity of obtruding 
themselves — as an inclination, or a disinclination, to repeat the same 
guess several times in succession. These objections of course reach 
their maximum if the field of choice be narrowed down to ttvo things — 
as where not the suit but the colour of the cards is to be guessed. And 
in fact some French trials of this type, and an aggregate of 5,500 
carried out by the American Society for Psychical Research/ give a 
result only very slightly in excess of the most probable number. 

§ 8. I may now pass to another class of experiments, in which the 
impression transferred was almost certainly of the visual sort, inasmuch 
as any verbal description of the object would require a group of words 
too numerous to present any clear and compact auditory character. 
An object of this kind is supplied by any irregular figure or 
arrangement of lines which suggests nothing in particular. We have 
had two remarkably successful series of experiments, extending over 
many days, in which the idea of such a figure has been telepathically 
transferred from one mind to another. A rough diagram being 
first drawn by one of the investigating Committee, the agent pro- 
ceeded to concentrate his attention on it, or on the memory which he 
retained of it ; and in a period varying from a few seconds to a few 
minates the percipient was able to reproduce the diagram, or a close 
approximation to it, on paper. No contact was permitted, except on 
a few occasions, which, on that very account, we should not present as 
crucial ; and in order to preclude the agent from giving unconscious 
hints — e.g., by drawing with his finger on the table or making 
movements suggestive of the figure in the air — he was kept out of 
the percipient's sight. 

Of the two series mentioned, the second is evidentially to be 
preferred. For in the first series the agent, as well as the percipient, 
was always the same person ; and we recognise this as pro tanto an 
objection. Not indeed that the simple hypothesis of collusion would 

1 Report by Professors J. M. Peirce and E. C. Pickering, in the Proceedings of the 
American Society for Psvchical Research, Vol. i., p. 19. This Society has also earned out 
12,130trials\vit'h the lO" digits— which similarly gave a result only slightly in excess ot 
theoretic probability. But here the digits to be thought of by the agent were not taken 
throughout in a purely accidental order, but in regularly recurring decads, in each ot 
which each digit occurred once ; and consequently the later guesses (both within the same 
decad and in successive decads) might easily be biassed by the earlier ones. Ihis system 
may lead to interesting statistics in other ways ; but to give thought-transterence tair 
play in experiments with a limited number of objects, it seems essential that the oraer 
of selection shall be entirely haphazard, and that the guesser s mind shall be quite 
unembarrassed by the notion of a scheme. 


at all meet the difficulties of the case. Faith in the power of a 
secret code must be carried to the verge of superstition, before it 
will be easy to believe that auditory signals, the material for which 
(as I pointed out above) is limited to the faintest variations in the 
signaller's method of breathing, can fully and faithfully describe a 
complicated diagram ; especially when the variations, imperceptible to 
the closest observation of the bystanders, would have to penetrate to 
the intelligence of a percipient whose head was enveloped in bandage, 
bolster-case, and blanket. But in spite of all, suspicion will, 
reasonably or unreasonably, attach to results which are, so to speak, 
a monopoly of two particular performers. In our second series of 
experiments this objection was obviated. There were two percipients, 
and a considerable group of agents, each of whom, when alone with one 
or other of the percipients, was successful in transferring his impres- 
sion. It is this series, therefore, that I select for fuller description. 

We owe these remarkable experiments to the sagacity and energy 
of Mr. Malcolm Guthrie, J.P., of Liverpool. At the beginning of 1883, 
Mr. Guthrie happened to read an article on thought-transference in a 
magazine, and though completely sceptical, he determined to make 
some trials on his own account. He was then at the head of an 
establishment which gives employment to many hundreds of persons ; 
and he was informed by a relative who occupied a position of responsi- 
bility in this establishment that she had witnessed remarkable results 
in some casual trials made by a group of his employees after busi- 
ness hours. He at once took the matter into his own hands, and 
went steadily, but cautiously, to work. He restricted the practice of 
the novel accomplishment to weekly meetings ; and he arranged 
with his friend, Mr. James Birchall, the hon. secretary of the Liver- 
pool Literary and Philosophical Society, that the latter should make 
a full and complete record of every experiment made. Mr. Guthrie 
thus describes the proceedings : — 

" I have had the advantage of studying a series of experiments ah ovo. 
I have witnessed the genuine surprise which the operators and the 
' subjects ' have alike exhibited at their increasing successes, and at the 
results of our excursions into novel lines of experiment. The affair has 
not been the discovery of the possession of special powers, first made and 
then worked up by the parties themselves for gain or glory. The experi- 
menters in this case were disposed to pass the matter over altogether 
as one of no moment, and only put themselves at my disposal in regard to 
experiments in order to oblige me. The experiments have all been devised 
and conducted by myself and Mr. Birchall, without any previous intimation 
of their nature, and could not possibly have been foreseen. In fact they 


have been to the young ladies a succession of surprises. No set of 
experiments of a similar nature has ever been more completely known 
from its origin, or more completely under the control of the scientific 

I must pass over the record of the earlier experiments, where 
the ideas transferred were of colours, geometrical figures, cards, and 
visible objects of all sorts, which the percipient was to name — these 
being similar in kind, though on the whole superior in the proportion 
of successes, to those already described.^ The reproduction of 
diagrams was introduced in October, 1883, and in that and the 
following month about 150 trials were made. The whole series has 
been carefully mounted and preserved by Mr. Guthrie. No one 
could look through them without perceiving that the hypothesis of 
chance or guess-work is out of the question ; that in most instances 
some idea, and in many a complete idea, of the original must, by 
whatever means, have been present in the mind of the person who 
made the reproduction. In Mr. Guthrie's words, — 

" It is difficult to classify them. A great number of them are decided 
successes ; another large number give part of the drawing ; others exhibit 
the general idea, and others again manifest a kind of composition of 
form. Others, such as the drawings of flowers, have been described and 
named, but have been too difficult to draw. A good many are perfect 
failures. The drawings generally run in lots. A number of successful 
copies will be produced very quickly, and again a number of failures — 
indicating, I think, faultiness on the part of the agent, or growing 
fatigue on the part of the 'subject.' Every experiment, whether 
successful or a failure, is given in the order of trial, with the conditions, 
name of ' subject ' and agent, and any remarks made by the ' subject ' 
specified at the bottom. Some of the reproductions exhibit the curious 
phenomenon of inversion. These drawings must speak for themselves. 
The principal facts to be borne in mind regarding them are that they 
have been executed through the instrumentality, as agents, of persons of 
unquestioned probity, and that the responsibility for them is spread over 
a considerable group of such persons ; while the conditions to be observed 
were so simple — for they amounted really to nothing more than taknig 
care that the original should not be seen by the ' subject '—that it is 
extremely difficult to suppose them to have been eluded." 

1 The full record of the experiments will be found in the Procecdinris of the S.P.R., 
Vol. i., p. 264, &c., and Vol. ii., p. 24, &c. There is one point of novelty which is thus 
descrii)ed by Mr. Guthrie : "We tried also the perception of motion, and found that 
the movements of objects exhibited could be discerned. The idea was suggested by an 
experiment tried with a card, which in order that all present should see, I moved about, 
and was informed by the percipient that it was a card, but she could not tell which one 
because it seemed to be moving about. On a subsequent occasion, m order to test this 
perception of motion, I bought a toy monkey, which worked up and down on a stick by 
means of a string drawing the arms and legs together. The answer was : 1 see red and 
yellow, and it is darker at one end than the other. It is like a flag moving about— it is 
moving. . . . Now it is opening and shutting like a pair of scissors.' 


I give a few specimens — not unduly favourable ones, but 
illustrating the " spreading of responsibility " to which Mr. Guthrie 
refers. The agents concerned were Mr. Guthrie ; Mr. Steel, the 
President of the Liverpool Literary and Philosophical Society ; Mr. 
Birchall, mentioned above ; Mr. Hughes, B.A., of St. John's College, 
Cambridge ; and myself The names of the percipients were Miss 
Relph and Miss Edwards. The conditions which I shall describe 
were those of the experiments in which I myself took part ; 
and I have Mr. Guthrie's authority for stating that they were 
uniformly observed in the other cases. The originals were for 
the most part drawn in another room from that in which the 
percipient was placed. The few executed in the same room were 
drawn while the percipient was blindfolded, at a distance from 
her, and in such a way that the process would have been wholly 
invisible to her or anyone else, even had an attempt been made to 
observe it. During the process of transference, the agent looked 
steadily and in perfect silence at the original drawing, which was ' 
placed upon an intervening wooden stand ; the percipient sitting 
opposite to him, and behind the stand, blindfolded and quite still. 
The agent ceased looking at the drawing, and the blindfolding 
was removed, only when the percipient professed herself ready to 
make the reproduction, which happened usually in times varying 
from half-a-minute to two or three minutes. Her position rendered 
it absolutely impossible that she should obtain a glimpse of the 
original. Apart from the blindfolding, she could not have done so 
without rising from her seat and advancing her head several feet ; 
and as she was very nearly in the same line of sight as the drawing, 
and so very nearly in the centre of the agent's field of vision, 
the slightest approach to such a movement must have been 
instantly detected. The reproductions were made in perfect silence, 
the agent forbearing to follow the actual process of the drawing with 
his eyes, though he was, of course, able to keep the percipient under 
the closest observation. 

In the case of all the diagrams, except those numbered 7 and 8, 
the agent and the percipient were the only two persons in the 
room during the experiment. In the case of numbers 7 and 8, the 
agent and Miss Relph were sitting quite apart in a corner of the 
room, while Mr. Guthrie and Miss Edwards were talking in another 
part of it. Numbers 1-6 are specially interesting as being the 
complete and consecutive series of a single sitting. 




No. 1. Original Drawing. 

No. 1. Reproduction. 

Mr. Guthrie and Miss Edwards. No contact. 

No. 2. Original Drawing. 

No. 2. Reproduction. 


Mr. Guthrie and Miss Edwards. No contact 




No. 3. Original Drawing. 

No. 3. Reproduction. 

Mr. Guthrie anrt Miss Edwards 
No contact. 

No. 4. Original Drawing. 

No. 4. Reproduction. 

Mr. Guthrie and Miss Edwards. 
No contact. 




No. 5. Original Drawing. 

No. 5. Rkprouuction. 

-Mr. Guthrie and Miss Edwards. 
No contact. 

No. 6. Original Drawing. 

Mr. Guthrie and Miss Edwards. No contact 

No. G. Reproduction. 

Mis.s Edwards almost directly said, " Are you thinking of the bottom of the sea, with shells and 
fishes ? " and then, " Is it a snail or a fish ? " — then drew as above. 



No. 7. Original Drawing. 

Mr. Gurney and Miss Relph. Contact for half-a-minute before the reproduction was drawn. 

No. 7. Reproduction. 




No. 8. Original Dkawing. 

No. 8. Reproduction. 

Mr Gurney and Miss Relph. No contact. 

No. 9. Original Drawing. 

Mr. Birchall and Miss Relpli. No contact. 

No. 9. Reproduction. 

Miss Relph said .she seemed to see a lot of rings, as if they were moving, and she could not get 
them steadily before her eyes. 



No. 10. OiiiGiNAL Drawing. 

No. 10. Reproduction. 

Mr. Birchall and Miss Relph. No contact. 

No. 11. Original Drawing. 

Mr. Birchall and Miss Edwards. No contact. 



No. 12. Original Drawing. 

Mr. Steel and Miss Relph. No contact. 

No. 12. Reproduction. 




No. 13. Original Drawing. 

No. 13. Reproduction. 

Mr. steel and Miss Edwards. Contact before the 
reproduction was made. 

No. 14. Original Drawing. 

No. 14. Reproduction. 

Mr. Hughes and .Miss Edwards. Contact 
before the reproduction was made. 

Miss Edwards said, " A box or chair 
badly shaped " — then drew as above. 



No. 15. Original Drawing. 

Mr. Hughes and Miss Edwards. No contact. 

No. 15. Reproduction. 

Miss Edwards said, " It is like a mask at a pantomime," and immediately thew as above. 



No. 16. Original Drawing. 

Mr. Husrhes and Miss Edwards No contact. 

No. 16. Reproduction. 


§ 9. Soon after the publication of these results, Mr. Guthrie was 
fortunate enough to obtain the active co-operation of Dr. Oliver J. 
Lodge, Professor of Physics in University College, Liverpool, who 
carried out a long and independent series of experiments with the 
same two percipients, and completely convinced himself of the 
genuineness of the phenomena. In his report^ he says : — 

" As regards collusion and trickery, no one who has witnessed the 
absolutely genuine and artless manner in which the impressions are 
described, but has been perfectly convinced of the transparent honesty 
of purpose of all concerned. This, however, is not evidence to persons 
who have not been present, and to them I can only say that to the 
best of my scientific belief no collusion or trickery was possible under 

the varied circumstances of the experiments When one 

has the control of the circumstances, can change them at will and 
arrange one's own experiments, one gradually acquires a belief in the 
phenomena observed quite comparable to that induced by the repetition 

of ordinary physical expei-iments We have many times 

succeeded with agents quite disconnected from the percipient in ordinary 
life, and sometimes complete strangers to them. Mr. Birchall, the head- 
master of the Birkdale Industrial School, frequently acted ; and the 
house physician at the Eye and Ear Hospital, Dr. Shears, had a successful 
experiment, acting alone, on his first and only visit. All suspicion of a 
pre-arranged code is thus rendered impossible even to outsiders who are 
unable to witness the obvious fairness of all the experiments." 

The objects of which the idea was transferred were sometimes 
things with names (cards, key, teapot, flag, locket, picture of donkey, 
and so on), sometimes irregular drawings with no name. Professor 
Lodge satisfied himself that auditory as well as visual impressions 
played a part — that in some cases the idea transferred was that of 
the object itself, and in others, that of its name ; thus confirming 
the conclusion which we had come to in the experiments with the 
Creery family. Of the two percipients one seemed more susceptible 
to the visual, and the other to the auditory impressions. A case 
where the auditory element seems clearly to have come in is the 
following. The object was a tetrahedron rudely drawn in projection, 
thus — 

The percipient said : " Is it another triangle ? " No answer was given, 
but Professor Lodge silently passed round to the agents a scribbled 
message, " Think of a pyramid." The percipient then said, " I only 

1 Proceedings of the S.P.R., Vol. ii., p. 189, &c. 


see a triangle " — then hastily, " Pyramids of Egypt. No, I shan't do 
this." Asked to draw, she only drew a triangle. 

I will give only one other case from this series, which is important 
as showing that the percipient maybe simultaneously .influenced by 
two minds, which arc concentrated on two different things. The two 
agents being seated opposite to one another. Professor Lodge placed 
between them a piece of paper, on one side of which was drawn a 
square, and on the other a cross. They thus had different objects to 

Originals. Reproduction. 

contemplate, and neither knew what the other was looking at ; nor 
did the percipient know that anything unusual was being tried. 
There was no contact. Very soon the percipient said, " I see things 
moving about ... I seem to see two things . . . I see first 
one up there and then one down there ... I don't know which 
to draw ... I can't see either distinctly." Professor Lodge 
said : " Well, anyhow, draw what you have seen." She took off the 
bandage and drew first a square, and then said, " Then there was the 
other thing as well . . . afterwards they seemed to go into one," — 
and she drew a cross inside the square from corner to comer, adding 
afterwards, " I don't know what made me put it inside." The 
significance of this experimental proof of joint agency will be more 
fully realised in connection with some of the spontaneous cases. 

The following passage from the close of Professor Lodge's report 
has a special interest for us, confirming, as it does, the accounts which 
we had received from our own former " subjects," and the views above 
expressed as to the conditions of success and failure : — 

" With regard to the feelings of the percipients when receiving an 
impression, they seem to have some sort of consciousness of the action of 
other minds on them ; and once or twice, when not so conscious, have 
complained that there seemed to be ' no power ' or anything acting, and 
that they not only received no impression, but did not feel as if they were 

going to. 

" I asked one of them what she felt when impressions were coming 
freely, and she said she felt a sort of influence or thrill. They both say 
that several objects appear to them sometimes, but that one among them 
persistently recurs and they have a feeling when they fix upon one that 
it is the right one. 

" One serious failure rather depresses them, and after a success others 
often follow. It is because of these rather delicate psychological con- 


ditions that one cannot press the variations of an experiment as far as one 
would do if dealing with inert and more dependable matter. Usually the 
presence of a stranger spoils the phenomena, though in some cases a 
stranger has proved a good agent straight off. 

" The percipients complain of no fatigue as induced by the experiments, 
and I have no reason to suppose that any harm is done them." 

It is the " delicate psychological conditions " of which Professor 
Lodge here speaks that are in danger of being ignored, just because 
they cannot be measured and handled. The man who first hears of 
thought-transference very naturally imagines that, if it is a reality, it 
ought to be demonstrated to him at a moment's notice. He forgets 
that the experiment being essentially a mental one, his o^vn 
presence — so far as he has a mind — may be a factor in it ; that he is 
demanding that a delicate weighing operation shall be carried out, 
while he himself, a person of unknown weight, sits judicially in one 
of the scales. After a time he will learn to allow for the con- 
ditions of his instruments, and will not expect in the operations 
of an obscure vital influence the rigorous certainty of a chemical 

I cannot conclude this division of the subject without a 
reference to a remarkable set of diagrams which appeared in Science 
for July, 1885— the first-fruits of the investigation of thought- 
transference set on foot by the American Society for Psychical 
Research. Most of the trials were carried out by Mr. W. H. 
Pickering (brother of the eminent astronomer at Harvard), and his 
sister-in-law. Though the success is far less striking to the eye than 
in the several English series, the evidence for some agency beyond 
chance seems, on examination, irresistible. 

§ 10. So far the present sketch has included transference of 
impressions of the visual and auditory sorts only— impressions, 
moreover, which for the most part represented formed objects or 
definite groups of sensations, not sensations pure and simple. 
These are not only by far the most important forms of the 
phenomenon, in relation to the wider spontaneous operations of 
telepathy which we shall consider in the sequel; but are also 
the most convenient forms for experiment. Moreover, I have 
been tracing the development of the subject historically ; and it 
was in connection with ideas belonging to the higher forms of 
sense that the transferences to percipients who were in a normal 
state were first obtained. But the existence of such cases would 

K 2 


prepare us for transferences of a more elementary type, — transferences 
of a simple formless sensation and nothing more, which should im- 
press the percipient not as an idea, but in its direct sensational 
character ; and if the phenomena be arranged in a logical scale from 
the less to the more complex, such cases would have the priority. 
For their exhibition, it is naturally to the lower senses that we should 
look — taste, smell, and touch — which last (since a certain intensity 
of experience seems necessary) we should hardly expect to prove 
effective till it reached the degree of pain. These lower forms are, 
in fact, those which preponderate in the earlier observations of 
mesmeric rapport in this country ; and our own experiments in 
mesmerism have included several instances of this sort.^ Thus the 
discovery that a similar " community of sensation " might exist 
between persons in a normal state, and without any resort to 
mesmeric or hypnotic processes, not only filled up an obvious 
lacuna, but gave a fresh proof of the fundamental unity of our 
many-sided subject. 

In the case of taste, we owe the discovery to Mr. Guthrie — the 
phenomenon having been, we believe, first observed by him on 
August 30th, 1883, and first fully examined in the course of a visit 
which Mr. Myers and the present writer paid to him in the following 
week. Failing to obtain very marked success in other lines of 
experiment, it occurred to us to introduce this novel form ; but the 
superiority of the results was probably due simply to the fact that 
they were obtained on the later days of our visit, when the " subjects " 
had become accustomed to our presence. 

I will quote the report made at the time : — 

" The taste to be discerned was known only to one or more of the three 
actual experimenters ; and the sensations experienced were verbally 
described by the ' subjects ' (not written down), so that all danger of 
involuntary muscular guidance was eliminated. 

" A selection of about twenty strongly-tasting substances was made. 
These substances were enclosed in small bottles and small parcels, pre- 
cisely similar to one another, and kept carefully out of the range of vision 
of the ' subjects,' who were, moreover, blindfolded, so that no grimaces 
made by the tasters could be seen. The 'subjects,' in fact, had no means 
whatever of knowing, through the sense of sight, what was the substance 

1 It is impossible here to give more than a selection of cases. I must refer the reader 
to Chap. i. of the Supplement, and to the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical 
Research, Vol. i., p. 225, &c., Vol. ii., p. 17, &c., and p. 205, &c. ; and Mr. Guthrie's 
"Further Report " in Vol. iii. 


" Smell had to be guarded against with still greater care. When the 
substance was odoriferous the packet or bottle was opened outside the 
room, or at such a distance, and so cautiously as to prevent any sensible 
smell from escaping. The experiments, moreover, were conducted in the 
close vicinity of a very large kitchen, from whence a strong odour of 
beefsteak and onions proceeded during almost all the time occupied. The 
tasters took pains to keep their heads high above the ' subjects,' and to 
avoid breathing with open mouth. One substance (cofiee) tried was found 
to give off a slight smell, in spite of all precautions, and an experiment 
made with this has been omitted. 

" The tasters were Mr. Guthrie (M.G.), Mr. Gurney (E.G.), and Mr. 
Myers (M.). The percipients may be called R. and E. The tasters lightly 
placed a hand on one of the shoulders or hands of the percipients — there 
not being the same objection to contact in trials of this type as where 
lines and figures are concerned, and the ' subjects ' themselves seeming to 
have some faith in it. During the first experiments (September 3rd 
and 4th) there were one or two other persons in the room, who, however, 
were kept entirely ignorant of the substance tasted. During the experi- 
ments silence was preserved. The last fifteen of them (September 5th) 
were made when only M. G., E. G., and M., with the two percipients, were 
present. On this evening E. was, unfortunately, sufiering from sore 
throat, which seemed to blunt her susceptibility. On this occasion none of 
the substances were allowed even to enter the room where the percipients 
were. They were kept in a dark lobby outside, and taken by the 
investigators at random, so that often one investigator did not even know 
what the other took. Still less could any spy have discerned what was 
chosen, had such spy been there, which he certainly was not. 

" A very small portion of each substance used was found f:o be enough. 
The difficulty lies in keeping the mean between the massive impression of 
a large quantity of a salt, spice, bitter, or acid, which confounds the specific 
difierences under each general head, and the fading impression which is 
apt to give merely a residual pungency, from which the characteristic 
flavour has escaped. It is necessary to allow some minutes to elapse 
between each experiment, as the imaginary taste seems to be fully as 
persistent as the real one. 

September 3rd, 1883. 


1 ]vj E Vinet^ar " A sharp and nasty taste. 

2'._M............... E....... Mustard "Mustard." 

3 __]y[ E, Do " Ammonia. " 

4.—M............... E....... Sugar " I still taste the hot taste of the 


September Ath. 

5— E G &M E Worcestershire sauce. " Worcestershire sauce. " 

e!— M. G E Do "Vinegar." 

7.— E. G. &M... E Port wine "Between eau de Cologne and 


8— M. G R Do " Raspberry vinegar."^ 

9 — E G &M . E Bitter aloes " Horrible and bitter. 

10— M G R Alum "A taste of ink— of iron— of 

vinegar. I feel it on my lips 

— it is as if I had been eating 

alum. " 





. E 




. R 





. E 




. R 



11. — M. G E Alum (E. perceived that M. G. was 

not tasting bitter aloes, as 
E. G. and M. supposed, but 
something different. No 
distinct perception on account 
of the persistence of the 
bitter taste.) 

Nutmeg " Peppenmint — no — what you put 

in puddings — nutmeg. " 

Do "Nutmeg."^ 

Sugar Nothing perceived. 

Do Nothing perceived. 

(Sugar should be tried at an 
earlier stage in the series, as, 
after the aloes, we could 
scarcely taste it ourselves. ) 

16.— E. G. & M... E Cayenne pepper "Mustard?' 

17. — M. G R Do. " Cayenne pepper. " 

(After the cayenne we were 
unable to taste anything 
further that evening. 

September 5th. 

18. — E. G. & M... E Carbonate of soda NothiBg perceived. 

19. — M. G R Carraway seeds "It feels like meal — like a seed 

loaf — caiTaway seeds." 
(The suhstance of the seeds 
seemed to be perceived before 
their taste. ) 

20.— E. G. &M... E Cloves "Cloves." 

21.— E. G. &M... E Citric acid Nothing perceived. 

22.— M. G R Do "Salt." 

2.3.— E. G. &M... E Liquorice "Cloves." 

24.— M. G R Cloves "Cinnamon." 

25.— E. G. «& M... E Acid jujube "Pear drop.' 

26. — M. 6 R Do. "Something hard, which is 

giving way- — acid jujube." 

27. — E. G. & M... E Candied ginger " Something sweet and hot." 

28.— M. G R Do. "Almond toffy." 

(M. G. took his ginger in the 
dark, and was some time 
before he realised that it was 
ginger. ) 

29.— E. G. &M... E Home-made Noyau ... "Salt." 

30.— M. G R Do. ... "Port wine." 

(This was by far the most 
strongly smelling of the sub- 
stances tried, the scent of 
kernels being hard to conceal. 
Yet it was named by E. as 
salt. ) 

31.— E. G. «ScM... E Bitteraloes "Bitter." 

32. — M. G R Do Nothing perceived. 

1 In some oases tivo experiments were carried on simultaneously with the same 
substance ; and when this was done, the first percipient was of course not told whether her 
answer was right or wrong. But it will perhaps be suggested that, when her answer was 
right, the agent who was touching her unconsciously gave her an intimation of the fact 
by the pressure of his hand ; and that she then coughed or made some audible signal 
to her companion, who followed suit. Whatever the theory may be worth, it wiU, we 
think, be seen that the success of the second percipient with the nutmeg was the only 
occasion, throughout the series, to which it can be applied. 


" "We should have preferred in these experiments to use only substances 
which were wholly inodorous. But in order to get any description of 
tastes from the percipients, it was necessary that the tastes should be either 
very decided or very familiar. It would be desirable, before entering on a 
series of experiments of this kind, to educate the palates of the 
percipients by accustoming them to a vai'iety of chemical substances, and 
also by training them to distinguish, with shut eyes, between the more 
ordinary flavours. It is well known how much taste is helped by sight and 
determined by expectation ; and when it is considered that the percipients 
in these cases were judging blindfold of the mere shadow of a savour, it 
will perhaps be thought that even some of their mistakes are not much 
wider of the mark than they might have been had a trace of the substance 
been actually placed upon their tongues." 

In later experiments, Mr. Guthrie endeavoured to meet the difficulty 
caused by odorous substances, and even succeeded in obtaining what 
appeared to be transferences of smell-impressions. The " subjects " and 
the agents were placed in different rooms. An opening, I0| inches 
square, had been made in the wooden partition between the two rooms ; 
and this had been filled in with a frame, covered with india-rubber 
and fitting tightly. Through a slit in this frame the agent 
(Mr. Guthrie or his relative. Miss Redmond) passed a hand, which 
both the " subjects " could then touch. Under these conditions, as 
far as could be judged, it was impossible for any scent to pass ; and, 
certainly, if any did pass, it would have needed extreme hyper- 
aesthesia to detect it. The following results were obtained on 
December oth, 1883 : — 

1. — Miss Redmond tasted powdered nutmeg. 

E. said " Ginger." 

R. said " Nutmeg." 
2. — Mr. G. tasted powder of dry celery. 

E. : "A bitter herb." 

R. : " Something like camomile." 
3. — Miss Redmond tasted coifee. 

At the same time, without any previous intimation, Mr. G., with two 
pins, pricked the front of the right wrist of Miss Redmond. 

E. said : " Is it a taste at all 1 " Mr. G. : " Why do you ask ? " 

" Because I feel a sort of pricking in the left wrist." She was 
told it was the right wrist, but said she felt it in the left. 

R. : "Is it cocoa or chocolate? " Answer given in the negative. 

E. : " Is it cofl^'ee 1 " 
4.— Mr. G. tasted Worcestershire sauce. 

R. : " Something sweet . . also acid . . a curious taste." 

E. : " Is it vinegar '] " 
5. — Miss Redmond smelt eau de Cologne. 

R. : " Is it eau de Cologne ? " 


6. — Miss Redmond smelt camphor. 

E. : " Don't taste anything." 

R. : Nothing perceived. 
7. — Mr. G. smelt carbolic acid. 

R. : " What you use for toothache . . . creosote." 

E. afterwards said she thought of pitch. 
8. — Mr. G. Right instep pricked with pins. 

E. guessed first the face, then the left shoulder ; then R. localised the 
pain on the right foot. 

The pain was then silently transferred to the left foot. E. localised it 
on the left foot. Both maintained their opinions. 

I will quote one more taste-series, for the sake of illustrating a 
special point — namely, the deferment of the percipient's consciousness 
of the sensation until a time when the agent had himself ceased to 
feel it. This fact is of great interest, on account of the marked 
analogy to it which we shall encounter in many of the spontaneous 
telepathic cases. The instances below are too few to be conclusive ; 
but we used to notice the same thing in our experiments with the 
Creery family — the object on which the attention of the agents had 
been concentrated being sometimes correctly named after the experi- 
ment had been completely abandoned as a failure. ((7/., Vol. II., p. 327.) 

June llth, 1885. 

Dr. Hyla Greves was in contact with Miss Relph, having tasted 

salad oil. 
Miss Relph said : "I feel a cool sensation in my mouth, something 

like that produced by sal prunelle." 
Mr. R. C. Johnson in contact, having tasted Worcestershire sauce in 

another room. 
"I taste something oily; it is very like salad oil." Then, a few 

minutes after contact with Mr. Johnson had ceased, " My mouth 

seems getting hot after the oil." (N.B. — Nothing at all had been said 

about the substances tasted either by Dr. Greves or Mr. Johnson.) 
Dr. Greves in contact, having tasted bitter aloes. 
" I taste something frightfully hot . . . something like vinegar 

and pepper . . . Is it Worcestershire sauce ? " 
Mr. Guthrie in contact, also having tasted bitter aloes. 
"I taste something extremely bitter, but don't know what it is, and 

do not remember tasting it before . . . It is a very horrid 


The possibility of the transference of pain, to a percipient in the 
normal state, is also a recent discovery. In December, 1882, we ob- 
tained some results which — with our well-tried knowledge of the per- 
cipient's character — we regard as completely satisfactory ; but our 
more striking successes in this line happen to have been with 


h3rpnotic subjects.^ The form of experiment has difficulties of its 
own. For, in mercy to the agent, the pain which it is hoped to 
transfer cannot be very severely inflicted ; and, moreover, in such 
circumstances of investigation as Mr. Guthrie's, it is only a very 
limited amount of the area of the body that can practically be used — 
a fact which of course increases the percipient's chances of accidental 
success. Still, the amount of success obtained with Mr. Guthrie's 
" subjects," in a normal state, is such as certainly excludes the 
hypothesis of accident. In some of the most remarkable series, 
contact has been permitted, it being difficult to suppose that uncon- 
scious pressure of the hand could convey information as to the exact 
locality of a pain.- But complete isolation of the percipient is, no 
doubt, a more satisfactory condition ; and at seven of the Liverpool 
meetings, which took place at intervals from November, 1884, to July, 
1885, the experiment was arranged in the following way. The 
percipient being seated blindfolded, and with her back to the rest of 
the party, all the other persons present inflicted on themselves the 
same pain on the same part of the body. Those who took part in this 
collective agency were three or more of the following : Mr. Guthrie, 
Professor Herdman, Dr. Hicks, Dr. Hyla Greves, Mr. R. C. Johnson, 
F.KA.S., Mr. Birchall, Miss Redmond, and on one occasion another 
lady. The percipient throughout was Miss Relph. 

In all, 20 trials were made. The parts pained were — 

1. — Back of left hand pricked. Rightly localised. 
2. — Lobe of left ear pricked. Rightly localised. 

3. Left wrist pricked, " Is it in the left hand 1 " — pointing to the 

back near the little finger. 

4. Third finger of left hand tightly bound round with wire. A lower 

joint of that finger was guessed. 
5.— Left wrist scratched with pins. "It is in the left wrist, like 

being scratched." 
6. — Left ankle pricked. Rightly localised. 
7. — Spot behind left ear pricked. No result. 
8. — Right knee pricked. Rightly localised. 
9. — Right shoulder pricked. Rightly localised. 
10. — Hands burned over gas. " Like a pulling pain . . then tingling, 

like cold and hot alternately " — localised by gesture only. 
11.— End of tongue bitten. " It is in the lip or the tongue." 
12.— Palm of left hand pricked. "Is it a tingling pain in the hand, 

here 1 " — placing her finger on the palm of the left hand. 
13. — Back of neck pricked, ""is it a pricking of the neck ? " 

1 See ProccnUms of the S.P.R., Vol. i., pp. 225-0 ; Vol. ii., p. 2.50. 
•- See, for instance, the record of Mr. Hughes's series in Mr. Guthrie s J^urther 
Report," above referred to. 


14. — Front of left ;inn above elbow pricked. Rightly localised. 

15. — Spot just above left ankle pricked. Rightly localised. 

16. — Spot just above right wrist pricked. "I am not quite sure, but I 

feel a pain in the right arm, from the thumb upwards, to above 

the wrist." 
17. — Inside of left ankle pricked. Outside of left ankle guessed. 
18. — Spot beneath right collarbone pricked. The exactly corresponding 

spot on the left side was guessed. 
19. — Back hair pulled. No result. 
20. — Inside of right wrist pricked. Right foot guessed. 

Thus in 10 out of the 20 cases, the percipient localised the pain 
with great precision ; in 6 the localisation was nearly exact, and with 
these we may include No. 10, where the pain was probably not 
confined to a single well-defined area in the hands of all the agents ; 
in 2 no local impression was produced ; and in 1, the last, the answer 
was wholly wrong. 

§ II. We may pass now to a totally new division of experimental 
cases. So far the effect of thought-transference on the receiving mind 
has been an effect %n consciousness — the actual emergence of an image 
or sensation which the percipient has recognised and described. But 
it is not necessary that the effect should be thus recognised by the 
percipient ; his witness to it may be unconscious, instead of conscious, 
and yet may be quite unmistakeable. The simplest example of this 
is when some effect is produced on his miotor system — when the 
impression received causes him to perform some action which proves 
to have distinct reference to the thought in the agent's mind.^ 

The cases fall into two classes. In one class the actions are 
purely automatic : in the other some conscious idea of what was to 
be done has preceded and accompanied the muscular effect ; so that 
that effect would be at most semi-automatic. To begin with this 
semi-automatic class ; it might be thought that examples would be 
found in those rarer cases of the " willing-game " where contact, and 

1 Even an effect on the sensory system may bear witness to an unconscious impression, 
if it is an indirect effect, led up to by certain hidden processes. In the Proceedings of 
the S.P.R., Vol. i., pp. 257-60, Vol. ii., pp. 203-4, and Vol. iii., pp. 453-9, a case in 
point is given. A young man's fingers having been concealed from him by a paper screen, 
anaesthesia and rigidity were repeatedly produced in one or another of them, by a process 
in which the concentrated attention of the " agent " on the particular finger proved to be 
an indispensable element. A psychical account of this result seems possible, if thought- 
transference can work, so to speak, underground. Such a case, however, may possibly 
indicate something beyond simple thought-transference — some sort of specific physical 
influence ; and it should be noted that the " subject," though at the time he was wide 
awake and in a perfectly normal state, had frequently on former occasions been hypnotised 
by the agent. . 

It is only in connection with hypnotism, again, that we find authentic cases of the 
direct effect of volition in producing the identical movement willed— such as raising the 
hand, dropping a book, &c. Some of these will be given in the next chapter. 


movement on the agent's part, are avoided. But we have received no 
records of such cases where it is certain that the precautions 
necessary to exclude the barest possibility of slight uncon.scious 
physical signs were rigidly enforced ; and it will be preferable to 
describe some experiments made by members of our own group, where 
this point was kept steadily in view. We have had several interesting 
series in which the " subject's " power of utterance has been inhibited 
by the silent determination of the operator. Our first experiments of 
this sort were made in January, 1883. The "subject" was our 
friend, Mr. Sidney Beard, who had been thrown into a light hypnotic 
trance by Mr. G. A. Smith. A list of twelve Yeses and Noes in 
arbitrary order was written b}^ one of ourselves and put into Mr. 
Smith's hand, with directions that he should successively " will " the 
" subject " to respond or not to respond, in accordance with the order 
of the list. Mr. Beard was lying back with closed eyes ; and a tuning- 
fork was struck and held at his ear, with the question, " Do you 
hear ? " asked by one of ourselves. This was done twelve times with 
a completely successful result, the answer or the failure to answer 
corresponding in each case with the " yes " or " no " of the written 
list — that is to say, with the silently concentrated will of the agent.^ 
A much more prolonged series of trials was made in November, 
1883, by Professor Barrett, at his house in Dublin. The h}'pnotist 
was again Mr. G. A. Smith. 

"The 'subject ' was an entire stranger to Mr. Smith, a youtli named 
Fearnley, to whom nothing whatever was said as to the nature of the 
experiment about to be tried, until he was thrown into the hypnotic state 
in my study. He was then in a light sleep-waking condition — his eyes 
were closed and the pupils upturned — apparently sound asleep ; but he 
readily answered in response to any questions addressed to him by Mr. 
Smith or by myself. 

" I first told him to open the fingers of his closed hand, or not to open 
them, just as he felt disposed, in response to the question addressed to him. 
That question, which I always asked in a uniform tone of voice, was in 

1 Similar trials on other occasions were equally successful ; as also were trials where 
the tuning-fork was dispensed with, and the only sound was the question, " Do you 
hear ? " asked by one of the observers. On these latter occasions, however, Mr. Smith 
was holding Mr. Beard's hand ; and it might be maintained that "yes " and " no " indi- 
cations were given by unconscious variations of pressure. How conii)letely unconscious 
the supposed " reader " was of any sensible guidance will be evident from Mr. Beard's own 
account. " During the experiments of .January 1st, when Mr. Smith mesmerised me, I 
did not entirely lose consciousness at any time, but only experienced a sensation of total 
numbness in my limbs. When the trial as to whether 1 could hear sounds was made, I 
heard the sounds distinctly each time, but in a large number of instances I felt totally 
unable to acknowledge that I heard them. I seemed to know each time whether Mr. 
Smith wished me to say that I heard them ; and as I had surrendered my will to his at 
the commencement of the experiment, I was unable to reassert my ix)wer of voUtion 
whilst under his influence." 


each case, ' Now, will you open your hand ? ' and at the same moment I 
pointed to the word ' Yes ' or ' No,' written on a card, which was held in 
sight of Mr. Smith, but entirely out of the range of vision of the ' subject,' 
even had his eyes been open, which they were not. Without the slightest 
change of expression or other observable muscular movement, and quite 
out of contact with the ' subject,' Mr. Smith then silently willed the 
subject to open or not to open his hand, in accordance with the ' Yes ' or 
' No.' Twenty successive experiments were made in this way ; seventeen 
of these were quite successful, and three were failures. But these three 
failures were possibly due to inadvertence on Mr. Smith's part, as he 
subsequently stated that on those occasions he had not been prompt 
enough to direct his will in the right direction before the question was asked. 
"The experiment was now varied as follows: The word 'Yes' was 
written on one, and the word ' No ' on the other, of two precisely similar 
pieces of card. One or other of these cards was handed to Mr. Smith at 
my arbitrary pleasure, care, of course, being taken that the ' subject ' had 
no opportunity of seeing the card, even had he been awake. When ' Yes ' 
was handed, Mr. Smith was silently to will the ' subject ' to answer 
aloud in response to the question asked by me, ' Did you hear me 1 ' When 
' No ' was handed, Mr. Smith was to will that no response should be made 
in reply to the same question. The object of this series of experiments 
was to note the effect of increasing the distance between the wilier and the 
willed, — the agent and the percipient. In the first instance Mr. Smith 
was placed three feet from the ' subject,' who remained throughout 
apparently asleep in an arm-chair in one corner of my study. 

" At three feet apart, fifteen trials were successively made, and in every 
case the ' subject ' responded or did not respond in exact accordance with 
the silent will of Mr. Smith, as directed by me. 

" At six feet apart, six similar trials were made without a single failure. 

" At twelve feet apart, six more trials were made without a single failure. 

"At seventeenfeetapart,sixmore trials were made without a single failure. 

" In this last case Mr. Smith had to be placed outside the study door, 

which was then closed with the exception of a narrow chink just wide 

enough to admit of passing a card in or out, whilst I remained in the 

study observing the ' subject.' To avoid any possible indication from the 

tone in which I asked the question, in all cases except the first dozen 

experiments, I shuffled the cards face downwards, and then handed the 

unknown ' Yes ' or ' No ' to Mr. Smith, who looked at the card and willed 

accordingly. I noted down the result, and then, and not till then, looked 

at the card. 

" A final experiment was made when Mr. Smith was taken across the 
hall and placed in the dining-room, at a distance of about thirty feet from 
the ' subject,' two doors, both quite closed, intervening. Under these con- 
ditions, three trials were made with success, the ' Yes ' response being, 
however, very faint and hardly audible to me, who returned to the study 
to ask the usual question after handing the card to the distant operator. 
At this point, the ' subject ' fell into a deep sleep, and made no further 
replies to the questions addressed to him. 

"Omitting these final experiments, the total number of successive 
trials at different distances was forty-three. If the result had been due 
to accident, there would have been an even chance of failures and of 


successes, — whereas in fact there was not a single failure in the entire 

" I subsequently made a series of a dozen successive trials in an 
absolutely dark room, conveying my intention to Mr. Smith by silently 
squeezing his hand, once for 'No,' twice for 'Yes.' Every trial was 
successful. When Mr. Smith was placed outside the darkened room, I 
handed him the card through a small aperture, which could be closed. 
Eight trials gave six results quite right, one wrong, and one doubtful. 
Afterwards twenty trials, made when Mr. Smith was recalled, and the 
room lighted, were all entirely successful. There was, I need hardly 
say, no contact between operator and ' subject ' in any of these 

" The difference in the powder of the will of the hypnotist and that of 
any other person was strikingly manifest, and the proof of the existence of 
a peculiar ' rapport ' between operator and subject was simply over- 
whelming. I several times exerted my will in opposition to that of Mr. 
Smith — that is to say, willed that the ' subject ' should or should not 
respond, when Mr. Smith willed the opposite, both of us being equally 
distant from the ' subject.' In every case his will triumphed. As in the 
case of Mr. Beard, the ' subject,' on being aroused, stated that he had 
heard the question each time, but that when he gave no answer he felt 
unaccountably unable to control his muscles so as to frame the word. 

" It was noticeable that neither in the normal nor in the hypnotic 
state was this subject able to tell any word or number or describe any 
diagram thought of or viewed by the operator. Only his ability to act in 
a particular way could be controlled, and he was not susceptible to even 
the most rudimentary form of thought-transference proper." 

The following shorter series with another operator, Mr. Kershaw, of 
Southport, and with Mrs. Firth, a sick-nnrse, as "subject," though the 
precautions were less elaborate than in the case just recorded, was to 
an eye-witness almost equally satisfactory. For the trial was quite 
suddenly suggested to Mr. Kershaw by the present \\Titer ; and not 
only was it planned out of Mrs. Firth's hearing, but Mr. Kershaw 
himself had some difficulty in understanding what was wanted. A 
variety of small circumstances combined to show that the form of 
experiment was entirely new both to operator and " subject." 

The trial took place at Southport, on September 7th, 1883. Mrs. 
Firth, who had been previously thrown into a light stage of trance, 
was placed in a chair in the middle of a bare room. Mr. Kershaw and 
I stood about three yards behind her ; and sight of us, or of any part 
of us, on her part was out of the question. The window was in the wall 
in front of her, but altogether on one side ; and there were no other 
reflecting surfaces in the room. I drew up the subjoined list of yeses 
and woes, and held it for Mr. Kershaw to see. He made a quiet 
connecting motion of the hand (not touching me, and being many 


feet from Mrs. Firth), when there was to be an answer, and an equally 
quiet transverse or separating pass when there was to be none. I 
attribute no virtue to the passes, except so far as they were a means 
of vivifying Mr. Kershaw's silent intention to himself. The passes 
were almost absolutely noiseless, and the extremely faint sound which 
they made, from the very nature of the gentle motion, can scarcely 
have varied. Complete silence was preserved but for my question, 
" Do you hear ? " repeated time after time, in a perfectly neutral tone ; 
and there did not appear to be the very faintest chance of signalling, 
even had there been an opportunity for arranging a scheme. 

1. — Yes Right (i.e., Mrs. Firth responded). 

2. — No Right {i.e., Mrs. Firth did not respond). 

3._Yes Right. 

4.— Yes Right. 

5.— No Right. 

6._Yes Right. 

7. — No At first no answer, which was right : then 

I gave a very loud stamp, which pro- 
voked a "Yes." 

8.— No Right. 

9._Yes Right. 

I will add one more short series, which took place at my lodgings 
at Brighton, on September 10th, 1883. The operator was Mr. Smith ; 
the "subject" an intelligent young cabinet-maker, named Conway. 
Mr. Smith and I stood behind him, without any contact with him. I 
held the list, and pointed to the desired answer each time. The 
silence was absolute. I repeated the question, "What is your name ?" 
in a perfectly neutral and monotonous manner. 

1. — Yes Right {i.e., the "subject" said "Conway"). 

2._Yes Right. 

3. — No This time the answer " Conway" was given; but when 

the next question was asked, the " subject " seemed 
unable to answer for some seconds, as though Mr. 
Smith's intention had taken effect a little too late. 

-Yes Right. 

-No Right. 

Yes Risht. 





— Yes.... 




-No .... 



—No .... 




-No .... 






I 12. But in experiments of this class it is clearly difficult to be 
sure that the conscious idea of the evoked or the inhibited action does 
not precede or accompany the muscular effects. Indeed, as we have 
seen, the percipient's own account has sometimes shown that it did 
so. I proceed, then, to our second class of cases. There is, fortunately, 
one sort of act where the verdict of the performer that it was 


automatically performed may be taken as conclusive ; the act of 
writing. If words are written down which the ^vriter is obliged 
to read over, and even to puzzle over, just as anyone else might 
do, in order to learn what they are, his unconsciousness of them 
in the act of wTiting may be taken as established. Now ^vritten 
words are of course as good as spoken ones, as evidence that a par- 
ticular idea has been in some way communicated. If, then, one person's 
automatic Avriting corresponds unmistakeably to the idea on which 
another person's mind was concentrated at the time, and if the 
possibility of sensory indications has been excluded, we have a clear 
example of some novel influence acting, not only without the 
participation of the recognised organs of sense, but without the 
participation of the percipient's conscious intelligence. Here again 
we find the advantage of the generic word " telepathy " — for it would 
clearly be inaccurate to call a phenomenon " thought-transference " 
where what is transferred does not make its appearance, on the 
percipient's side, as thought or any other form of conscious 

We have in our collection several examples of this motor form of 
experimental telepathy ; where a mental question on the part of 
some one present has been answered in writing, with a planchette^ or 
a simple pencil, without any consciousness of either the question or the 
answer on the part of the person whose hand was automatically 
acting. But the following group of cases is decidedly the most 
remarkable that has come under our notice. 

The Rev. P. H. Newnham, Vicar of Maker, Devonport, has 
had many indications of spontaneous transference of thovight from 
himself to his wife f and at one period of his life, in 1871, he carried 
out a long and systematic series of experiments, which were of the 
motor type that we are now considering — he writing down a question, 
and the planchette under his wife's hands replying to it. He recorded 
the results, day by day, in a private diary, which he has kindly placed 
at our disposal. From this diary I quote the following extracts : — 

My wife always sat at a small low table, in a low chair, leaning 
backwards. I sat about eight feet distant, at a rather high table, and ^vith 
my back towards her while writing down the questions. It was absolutely 
impossible that any gesture or play of features, on my part, could have 
been visible or intelligible to her. As a rule she kept her eyes sliut ; but 
never became in the slightest degree hypnotic, or even naturally drowsy. 

1 A planchette has two advantages over a simple pencil. It is very much more easily- 
moved to write ; and it is very much easier to make vnth. it the movements necessary for 
the formation of letters without realising what the letters are. 

- See, e.g., the cases quoted in Chap, v., §§2 and 8. 


Under these conditions we carried on experiments for about eight 
months, and I have 309 questions and answers recorded in my note-book, 
spread over this time. But the experiments were found very exhaustive 
of nerve power, and as my wife's health was delicate, and the fact of 
thought-transmission had been abundantly proved, we thought it best to 
abandon the pursuit. 

I may mention that theplanchette began to move instantly , with my wife. 
The answer was often half written before I had completed the question. 

On first finding that it would write easily, I asked three simple 
questions which were known to the operator ■} then three others, unknown 
to her, relating to my own private concerns. All six having been instantly 
answered in a manner to show complete intelligence, I proceeded to ask : — 

7." Write down the lowest temperature here this winter. 
A. 8. 

Now, this reply at once arrested my interest. The actual lowest 
temperature had been 7-6° so that 8 was the nearest whole degree ; but my 
wife said at once that, if she had been asked the question, she would have 
written 7 and not 8 ; as she had forgotten the decimal, but remembered 
my having said that the temperature had been down to 7 something. 

I simply quote this, as a good instance, at the very outset, of 
perfect transmission of thought, coupled with a perfectly independent 
reply ; the answer being correct in itself, but different from the impression 
on the conscious intelligence of both parties.^ 

Naturally our first desire was to see if we could obtain any information 
concerning the nature of the intelligence which was operating through the 
planchette, and of the method by which it produced the written results. 
We repeated questions on this subject again and again, and I will copy 
down the principal questions and answers in the connection. 

January 2^th. 

13. Is it the operator's brain, or some external force, that moves the 

planchette ^ Answer " brain " or " force." 
A. Will. 

14. Is it the will of a living person, or of an immaterial- spirit, distinct 

from that person ? Answer " person" or " spirit." 
A. Wife. 

15. Give first the wife's Christian name ; then, my favourite name 

for her. 
(This was accurately done.) 

27. What is your own name? 

A. Only you. 

28. We are not quite sure of the meaning of the answer. Explain. 

A. Wife. 
Failing to get more than this, at the outset, we turned to the same 
thought after question 114; when, having been closely pressed on 
another subject, we received the curt reply — "Told all I know." 

1 Mr. Newnham uses this word where we should use " subject "or " percipient." 

2 The numbers prefixed to the questions are those in the note-book. 

■^ It will be borne in mind throughout that Mrs. Newnham had, at the time when the 
answer was produced, no conscious knowledge of the question which her husband had 
written down. 


February 18</<. 

117. Who are you that writes, and lias told all you know 1 
A. Wife. 

118. But does no one tell wife what to write 1 If so, who ? 
A. Spirit. 

119. Whose spirit? 
A. Wife's brain. 

1 20. But how does wife's brain know (certain) secrets ? 
A. Wife's spirit unconsciously guides. 

121. But how does wife's spirit know things it has never been told 1 
A. No external influence. 

122. But by what internal influence does it know (these) secrets 1 
A. You cannot know. 

March \bth. 

132. Who, then, makes the impressions upon her? 
A. Many strange things. 

133. What sort of strange things 1 

A. Things beyond your knowledge. 

134. Do, then, things beyond our knowledge make impressions upon wife ? 
A. Influences which no man understands or knows. 

136. Are these influences which we cannot understand external to wife ? 
A. External — invisible. 

137. Does a spirit, or do spirits, exercise those influences? 
A. No, never (written very large and emphatically). 

1 38. Then from whom, or from whence, do the external influences come ? 
A. Yes ; you will never know. 

139. What do you mean by writing " yes " in the last answer ? 
A. That I really meant never. 

April lOth. 

192. But by what means are my thoughts conveyed to her brain ? 
A. Electro-biology. 

193. What is electro-biology ? 
A. No one knows. 

194. But do not you know 1 

A. No. Wife does not know. 
My object in quoting this large number of questions and replies [N.B. 
those here given are mere samples] has not been merely to show the 
instantaneous and unfailing transmission of thought from questioner to 
operator ; but, more especially, to call attention to a remarkable cliaracter- 
istic of the answers given. These answers, consistent and invariable in 
their tenor from first to last, did not correspoiid vnth the opinions o?- 
expectations of either myself or my ivife. Neither myself nor my wife had 
ever taken part in any form of (so-called) "spiritual" manifestations 
before this time ; nor had we any decided opinion as to the agency by 
which phenomena of this kind were brought about. But for such 
answers as those numbered 14, 27, 137, 192, and 194, we were both of us 
totally unprepared ; and I may add that, so far as we were prepossessed 
by any opinions whatever, these replies were distinctly opposed to such 
opinions. In a word, it is simply impossible that these replies should 



have been either suggested or composed by the conscious intelligence of 
either of us, 

I had a young man reading with me as a private pupil at this time. 
On February 1 2th he returned from his vacation ; and, on being told of 
our experiments, expressed his incredulity very strongly. I oflFered any 
proof that he liked to insist upon, only stipulating that I should see the 
question asked. Accordingly, Mrs. Newnham took her accustomed chair 
in my study, while we went out into the hall, and shut the door behind 
us. He then wrote down on a piece of paper : — 
87. What is the Christian name of my eldest sister ? 

We at once returned to the study, and found the answer already 
waiting for us : — 
A. Mina. 

(This name was the family abbreviation of Wilhelmina ; and I should 
add that it was unknown to myself.) 

I must now go on to speak of a series of other experiments, of a very 
remarkable kind. 

We soon found that my wife was perfectly unable to follow the 
motions of the planchette. Often she only touched it with a single 
finger ; but even with all her fingers resting on the board, she never had 
the slightest idea of what words were being traced out. It struck me 
that it would be a good thing to take advantage of this peculiarity 
on her part, to ask questions upon subjects that it was impossible 
for her to know anything about. I had taken a deep interest in Masonic 
archteology, and I now questioned planchette on some subjects connected 

February lith. 

92. What is the English of the great word of the R.A. 1 

After an interruption, of which I shall speak hereafter, one great 
word of the degree, but not the one I meant, was written, very 
slowly and clearly. 

February I8th. 

112. What is the translation of the Great Triple Word 1 

A. (The first syllable of the word in question was written correctly, 
and then it proceeded.) The end unknown. Three languages. 
Greece. Egypt. Syriac. 

115. Who are you that know 1 
(Answer scrawled and illegible.) 

116. Please repeat same answer legibly. 
A. Manifestation triune person. 

March 26th. 

166. Of what language is the first syllable of the Great Triple R.A. 

A. Don't know. 

167. Yes, you do. What are the three languages of which the word is 

composed 1 
A. Greek, Egypt, Syriac first syllable (correctly given), rest 


168. Write the syllable which is Syriac. 
A. (First syllable correctly wi-itten.) 

169. Write the syllable which is Egyptian. 
A. Second. 

170. Can you not write the syllable itself 1 
A. Third Greek. 

174. Write down the word itself. 

A. First three and last two letters were written correctly, but four 
incorrect letters, parthj borrowed from another toord of the same 
degree, came in the middle. 

176. Why do you write a word of which I know nothing? 

A. Wife tried hard to tell the word, but could not quite catch 

177. Catch it from whom ? 
A. Not quite sure. 

178. Not quite sure of what ? 

A. I knovv nothing. Wife doesn't quite know. 
In the above series of answers we have, it seems to me, a very 
remarkable combination of knowledge and ignorance. There is a perfect 
appreciation of my thoughts, in the queries ; but a strange, persistent, 
almost dogged, incapability of seeing my thoughts, in the replies. 
Especially in the answer to 116, and in some other answers [not here 
quoted], there is a reference to an opinion which was published by Dr. 
Oliver, whose works I had been carefully reading about four months before, 
but with whose theory, in this case, I most strongly disagreed. So that 
here was an opinion intimated which it was impossible that the operator 
could have been aware of, and which the questioner had absolutely rejected 
as untenable ! 

182. Write out the prayer used at the advancement of a Mark Master 

A. Almighty Ruler of the Universe and Architect of all worlds, we 
beseech Thee to accept this, our brother, whom we have this day 
received into our most honourable Company of Mark Master 
Masons. Grant him to be a worthy member of our brotherhood; 
and may he be in his own person a perfect mirror of all Masonic 
virtues. Grant that all our doings may be to Thy honour and 
glory, and to the welfare of all mankind. 

This prayer was written off instantaneously and very rapidly. It is a 
very remarkable production indeed. For the benetit of those who are not 
members of the craft, I may say that no prayer in the slightest degree 
resembling it is made use of in the Ritual of any Masonic degree ; and 
yet it contains more than one strictly accurate technicality connected with 
the degree of Mark Mason. My wife has never seen any Masonic prayers, 
whether in " Carlile," or any other real or spurious Ritual of the Masonic 

Here, then, assuredly was a formula composed by some intelligence 
totally distinct from the conscious intelligence of either of the persons 
engaged in the experiment. 

I proceeded to inquire as follows : — 


183. I do not know tJiis prayer. Where is it to be found ? 
A. Old American Ritual. 

184. Where can I get one? 

A. Most likely none in England. 

185. Can you not write the prayer that I made use of in my own Lodge? 
A. No, I don't know it. 

In these last answers we see a new moral element introduced. There 
is evasion, or subterfuge, of a more or less ingenious kind ; and totally 
foreign to the whole character and natural disposition of the operator. A 
similar attempt at deliberate invention, rather than plead guilty to total 
ignorance, is contained in the following answers : — 

May 1th. 

255. In what Masonic degree was the Triple Word first used? 
A. Wife does not know. 

256. Cannot you tell her ? 

A. How can wife know what no one else does ? 

257. Does no one, then, know the answer to this ? 
A. No one knows now. 

258. What do you mean by " now"? Did anyone once know? 
A. The last one who knew died at least twenty years ago. 

259. What was his name? 

A. In America ; don't know name. 

[Many more instances of these evasive replies occur.] 

May lOth. 
Planchette again gave us an example of its sense of the humorous. 

I had been obliged to engage a clergyman who was not a favourable 
specimen of his profession, as I could procure no one else in time to get 
the Sunday's work done. He was much amused with planchette, and 
desired to ask : — 

277. How should a bachelor live in this neighbourhood ? 
(The answer was illegible.) 

278. Please repeat answer. 
A. Three months. 

(Planchette evidently did not catch the exact query.) 

279. I did not ask hotv long but how ? 

A. Eating and drinking and sleeping and smoking. 

That clergyman never consulted planchette again. 

I will conclude with a very pretty instance of a mistake instantly 
corrected. It was on the same evening. May 10th ; I had to preach on 
the following Whit-Monday, on the occasion of laying a foundation-stone 
with Masonic ceremonial, so I asked : — 

275. Give me a text for Whit-Monday's sermon. 

A. If I go not away, the Comforter will not come to you. 

The selection of a subject suitable for Whitsuntide is plainly the first 
idea caught by the intelligence ; so I proceeded : — 

276. That will not do for my subject. I want a text for the Monday's 



A. Let brotherly love continue. 
I will add one example where, contrary to the usual rule, the idea 
of the answer, though not that of the question, reached the level of 
consciousness in Mrs. Newnham's mind. 

59. What name shall we give to our new dog ? 
A. Nipen. 
The name of Nipen, from Feats on the Fiord, shot into the 
operator's brain just as the question was asked. 

The above quotations form a fair sample of Mr. Newnham's 
S09 experiments of the same type ; and no one who admits the 
bona fides of the record, and believes that Mrs. Newnham, sitting mth 
closed eyes eight feet behind her husband, did not obtain through her 
senses an unconscious knowledge of what he wrote, will deny that 
some sort of telepathic influence was at work, acting below the level of 
the percipient's consciousness. The experiments are further interest- 
ing as suggesting, in the character of many of the replies, an uncon- 
scious intelligence — a second self quite other than Mrs. Newnham's 
conscious self. " Unconscious intelligence " is no doubt a somewhat 
equivocal phrase, and it is necessary to know in every case exactly 
what is meant by it. It may be used in a purely physical sense — to 
describe the unconscious cerebral processes whereby actions are 
produced which as a rule are held to imply conscious intelligence ; as, 
for instance, when complicated movements, once performed with 
thought and effort, gradually become mechanical. But it may be 
used also to describe psychical processes which are severed from the 
main conscious current of an individual's life. Unconsciousness in 
any further sense it would be rash to assert ; for intelligent psychic 
process without consciousness of some sort, if not a contradiction in 
terms, is at any rate something as impossible to imagine as a fourth 
dimension in space. The events in question are outside the individual's 
consciousness, as the events in another person's consciousness are ; 
but they differ from these last in not revealing themselves as part 
of any continuous stream of conscious life ; and no one, therefore, can 
give an account of them as belonging to a self. What their range and 
conditions of emergence may be we cannot tell ; since, in general, 
their very existence can only be inferred from certain sensible effects 
to which they lead.^ I may recall the undoubted phenomena of what 

1 It may be asked what right I have to make any such inference ; since a la ri<jucur, 
the effects, being sensible and physical, do not require us to suppose that they had any 
other than physical antecedents. It is true that it is impossible to dciiionstratt that the 
physical antecedents, which undoubtedly exist, have any psychical correlative. But the 


has been termed "double consciousness," where & double psychical life 
is found connected with a single organism. In those cases the two 
selves, one of which knows nothing of the other, appear as successive ; 
but if we can regard such segregated existences as united or unified by 
bonds of reference and association which, for the partial view of one of 
them at least, remain permanently out of sight, then I do not see 
what new or fundamental difficulty is introduced by conceiving them 
as simultaneous ; and simultaneity of the sort is what seems to be 
shown, in a fragmentary way, by cases like the present. I shall have 
to recur to this conception in connection with some of the facts of 
spontaneous telepathy (see pp. 230-1). 

A further noteworthy point is that so often the questions and 
not the answers in the agent's mind should have been telepathically 
discerned ; but we may perhaps conceive that the impulse first 
conveyed set the percipient's independent activity to work, and so 
put an end for the moment to the receptive condition. The power to 
reproduce the actual word thought of is sufficiently shown in the 
cases where names were given (15 and 87), and in some of the 
Masonic answers ; and the following examples belong to the same class. 

48. What name shall we give to our new dog ? 
A. Yesterday was not a fair trial. 

49. Why was not yesterday a fair trial ? 
A. Dog. 

And again : — 

108. What do I mean by chaffing C. about a lilac treel 
A. Temper and imagination. 

109. You are thinking of somebody else. Please reply to my question. 
A. Lilacs. 

Here a single image or word seems to have made its mark on the 
percipient's mind, -svithout calling any originative activity into play ; 
and we thus get the naked reproduction. In these last examples 
we again notice the feature of deferred impression. The influence 

results in question have often no analogy to the automatic actions which we are accustomed 
to attribute to " unconscious cerebration." They are not the effects of habit and practice ; 
they are new results, of a sort which has in all our experience been preceded by intention 
and reflection, and referable to a self. But perhaps the simplest illustration of what is 
here meant by " unconscious intelligence " is to be found in occasional facts of dreaming. 
Thus, it has occurred to me at least once, in a dream, to be asked a riddle, to give it 
up, and then to be told the answer— which, on waking, I found quite sufficiently pertinent 
to show that the question could not have been framed without distinct reference to it. Yet 
for the consciousness which I call mine, that reference had remained wholly concealed : so 
little had 1 known myself as the composer of the riddle that the answer came to me as a 
complete surprise. The philosophical problem of partial selves cannot be here enlarged 
on. For a discussion of the subject from the point of view of cerebral localisation, as 
well as for further quotations from Mr. Newnham's record, I may refer the reader to Mr. 
Myers' paper on "Automatic Writing," in Vol. iii. of the Froceedinys of the S.P.R. 



only gradually became effective, the immediate answer being 
irrelevant to the question. We may suppose, therefore, that the 
first effect took place below the threshold of consciousness.^ 

§ 13. I may now proceed to some further results which were 
obtained with percipients of less abnormal sensibility, and which 
demand, therefore, a careful application of the theory of probabilities. 

1 The following case, though not strictly experimental, is sufficiently in point to be 
worth quoting. Though unfortunately not recorded in writing at tlie time, it was 
described within a few days of its occurrence to Mr. Podmore, who is acquainted with 
all the persons concerned. " The narrator is Miss Robertson, of 229, Marylebone Road, W. 

" About three years ago I was speaking of planchette-writing to some of my friends, 
when a young lady, a daughter of the house where I was spending the evening, mentionea 
that she had played with planchette at school, and that it had always WTitten for her. 
Thereupon I asked her to spend the evening with me, and try it again, which she agreed 
to do. On the morning of the day on which she had arranged to come to me, her brother, 
on leaving the house, said, laughing, 'Well, Edith, it is all hunibug, but if planchette 
tells you the name and sum of money which are on a cheque which 1 have in my pocket, 
and which I am going to cash for mother, I will believe there is something in it. Edith, 
on her arrival at my house in the evening, told me of this, and 1 said, ' We must not 
expect that ; pl9,nchette never does what one wants,' or words to that effect. A couple 
of hours after, we tried the planchette, Edith's hand alone touching it. It almost 
immediately wrote, quite clearly : — 

'I. SPALDING. £G:13:4.' 

I had forgotten about the cheque, and I said, ' What can that mean ? ' Upon which 
Edith replied, ' It is H.'s cheque, perhaps.' I was incredulous, having a long acquain- 
tance with planchette. I said, ' If it is right, send me word directly you get home ; I am 
sure it will not be.' But the next day I received a letter from Edith, telling me that she 
had astonished her brother greatly by telling him the name and the amount on the 
cheque, which was perfectly correct. I have read this account to the young lady and her 
brother, who sign it as well as myself. 

"Nora Robektson. 
"E. C. 

"D. C. H. C." 
In answer to an inquiry. Miss Robertson adds, on Feb. 12, 1885 : — 
"Miss E. C. says, in answer to your question, that she is quite certain she could not 
have known, or surmised, the name and amount of the cheque. 

" I can confirm her on the first point, for I remember questioning everybody all 
round at the time. She had just returned from school, and knew nothing at all about her 
mother's business or money matters." 

Here, it will be observed, the impression seems not only to have been unconscious, 
but to have remained latent for several hours before taking effect ; for it is at any rate the 
most natural supposition that the transference actually occurred at the time when the 
conversation on the subject took place between the brother and sister. 

This latcncf/ of an impression which finally takes effect in distinct automatic or 
semi-automatic movements, may be seen in cases which have no connection with telepathy. 
It occurs, for instance, in the following "muscle-reading" experiment, described to us by 
Mr. Georee B. Trent, of 65, Sandgate Road, Folkestone : — 

^ , . & "March 24th, 1883. 

"Some two months back, I was asked by a gentleman, who had read of my exjteriments 
in the paper, to (iblige liiui with a seance. 1 called upon him one afternoon, and he told 
me that he had hidden some object, in the early mornhig, and he thought he had given 
me a puzzle. I first experimented with pins ; I led him to their hiding-places at once, 
without the least hesitation. I then asked him to concentrate the whole of his thoughts 
on what he had done in the morning. I immediately led him to a davenport, unlocked it, 
and from amongst, I may saj', perhajjs a lunuhed pajurs and other articles, I selected 
three photographs, and from the three I fixed \\\>nn one— that of his wife. He then said he 
was perfectly astonished, as I had positively gone through an experunent he had set 
himself to do, but abandoned in favour of another he had done." 

It seems probable that, at any rate in the earlier stages of this iierformance, the idea 
of what was to be done was not consciously present in the " wilier "s " mind, which was 
apparently concentrated on something else. And if so, his muscular indications must have 
been the result of unconscious cerebration — an effect of nervous activity, continuing 
to act in accordance with a previous impulse which had lapsed from consciousness. 


For the development of the motor form of experiment in this 
direction, we have again to thank M. Richet ; who here, as in the 
case of the card-guessing, has brought the calculus to bear effectively 
on various sets of results many of which, if looked at in separation, 
would have had no significance.^ The fact that the " subjects " of his 
trials were persons who had betrayed no special aptitude for "mental 
suggestion," made it clearly desirable that the bodily action required 
should be of the very simplest sort. The formation of words by 
a planchette-writer requires, of course, a very complex set of 
muscular co-ordinations: all that M. Richet sought to obtain was a 
single movement or twitch. In the earlier trials an object was hidden, 
and the percipient endeavoured to discover it by means of a sort of 
divining-rod — the idea being that he involuntarily twitched the rod 
at the right moment under the influence of "mental suggestion" 
from the agent, who was watching his movements. But where the 
subject of communication is of such an extremely simple kind, very 
elaborate precautions would be needed to guard against unconscious 
hints. Indications from the expression or attitude of the "agent" 
may be prevented by blindfolding the "percipient," and in other 
ways ; but if the two are in close proximity, it is harder to exclude 
such signs as may be given by involuntary movements, or by changes 
of breathing. M. Richet's later experiments were ingeniously contrived 
so as to obviate this objection. 

The place of a planchette was taken by a table, and M. Richet 
prefaces his account by a succinct statement of the orthodox view as to 
"table-turning." Rejecting altogether the three theories which attri- 
bute the phenomena to wholesale fraud, to spirits, and to an unknown 
force, he regards the gyrations and oscillations of seance-tables as due 
wholly to the unconscious muscular contractions of the sitters. It thus 
occurred to him to employ a table as an indicator of the movements 
that might be produced, by "mental suggestion." The plan of the 
experiments was as follows. Three persons (C, D, and E,) took 
their seats in a semi-circle, at a little table on which their hands 
rested. One of these three was always a " medium " — a term used by 
M. Richet to denote a person liable to exhibit intelligent movements in 
which consciousness and will apparently take no part. Attached to the 
table was a simple electrical apparatus, the effect of which was to ring a 
bell whenever the current was broken by the tilting of the table. 

1 I have given a fuller description and criticism of M. Richet's investigations in 
Vol. ii. of the Proceedinys of the S.P.E,. 


Behind the backs of the sitters at the table was another table, on 
which was a large alphabet, completely screened from the view of C, 
D, and E, even had they turned round and endeavoured to see it. In 
front of this alphabet sat A, whose duty was to follow the letters 
slowly and steadily with a pen, returning at once to the beginning as 
soon as he arrived at the end. At A's side sat B, with a note-bo(jk ; 
his duty was to write down the letter at which A's pen happened to 
be pointing whenever the bell rang. This happened whenever 
one of the sitters at the table made the simple movement 
necessary to tilt it. Under these conditions, A and B are apparently 
mere automata. C, D, and E are little more, being unconscious 
of tilting the table, which appears to them to tilt itself; but even 
if they tilted it consciously, and with a conscious desire to dictate 
words, they have no means of ascertaining at what letter A's pen is 
pointing at any particular moment ; and they might tilt for ever 
without producing more than an endless series of incoherent letters. 
Things being arranged thus, a sixth operator, F, stationed himself 
apart both from the tilting table and from the alphabet, and con- 
centrated his thought on some word of his own choosing, which he 
had not communicated to the others. The three sitters at the first 
table engaged in conversation, sang, or told stories ; but at intervals the 
table tilted, the bell rang, and B wrote down the letter Avhich A's 
pen was opposite to at that moment. Now, to the astonishment of 
all concerned, these letters, when arranged in a series, turned out to 
produce a more or less close approximation to the word of which F 
was thinking. 

For the sake of comparing the results with those which pure 
accident would give, M. Richet first considers some cases of the latter 
sort. He writes the word NAPOLEON ; he then takes a box 
containing a number of letters, and makes eight draws ; the eight 
letters, in the order of drawing, turn out to be U P M T D E Y V 
He then places this set below the other, thus : — 
Taking the number of letters in the French alphabet to be 24, the 
probability of the correspondence of any letter in the lower line with 
the letter immediately above it is, of course 2^ ; and in the series of 8 
letters it is more probable than not that there will not be a single 
correspondence. If we reckon as a success any case where the letter 
in the lower line corresponds not only with the letter above it, but 


with either of the neighbours of that letter in the alphabet^ {'^■fj-, 
where L has above it either K, L, or M), then a single correspondence 
represents the most probable amount of success. In the actual result, 
it mil be seen, there is just one correspondence, which happens to be a 
complete one — the letter E in the sixth place. It will not be neces- 
sary to quote other instances. Suffice it to say that the total result, 
of trials involving the use of 64 letters, gives 3 exact correspondences, 
while the expression indicating the most probable number was 27 ; 
and 7 correspondences of the other type, while the most probable 
number was 8. Thus even in this short set of trials, the accidental 
result very nearly coincided with the strict theoretic number. 

We are now in a position to appreciate the results obtained when 
the factor of " mental suggestion " was introduced. In the first 
experiment made, M. Richet, standing apart both from the table and 
from the alphabet, selected from Littre's dictionary a line of poetry 
which was unknown to his friends, and asked the name of the author. 
The letters obtained by the process above described were J F A II D ; 
and there the tilting stopped. After M. Richet's friends had puzzled 
in vain over this answer, he informed them that the author of the 
line was Racine ; and juxtaposition of the letters thus — 

J E A N R 
shows that the number of complete successes was 2, which is about 10 
times the fraction representing the most probable number ; and that 
the number of successes of the type where neighbouring letters are 
reckoned was 8, which is about 5 times the fraction representing the 
most probable number. M. Richet tells us, however, that he was not 
actually concentrating his thought on the author's Christian name. 
Even so, it probably had a sub-conscious place in his mind, which 
might sufiiciently account for its appearance. At the same time 
accident has of course a wider scope when there is more than one 
result that would be allowed as successful ; and the amount of success 
was here not nearly striking enough to have any independent weight. 

It is clearly desirable — with the view of making sure that F's 
mind, if any, is the operative one — not to ask a question of which the 

1 This procedure of counting neighbouring letters seems to require some justification. 
It might be justified by the difficulty, on the theory of mental suggestion, <jf obtaining an 
exact coincidence of time between the tilting and the pointing. But I think that M. 
Richet does justify it (liev. thil., p. i>M), by reference to some other experiments — not yet 
published, but of which he has shown us the record — where intelligible words were 
produced of which no one in the room was, or had been, thinking. For here also neigh- 
bouring letters appeared, but in such a way as left no room tor doubt, in the reader's 
mind, as to what the letter should have been. 


answer might possibly at some time have been within the knowledge 
of the sitters at the table ; and in the subsequent experiments the 
name was silently fixed on by F. The most striking success was 
this : — 

Name thought of: CHEVALON 

Letters produced : C H E V A L 

Here the most probable number of exact successes was 0, and the 
actual number was 6. 

Taking the sum of eight trials, we find that the most probable 
number of exact successes was 2, and the actual number 14 ; and that 
the most probable number of successes of the other type was 7, and the 
actual number 24. It was observed, moreover, that the correspondences 
were much more numerous in the earlier letters of each set than in 
the later ones. The first three letters of each set were as follows — 
J F A— N E F— F Q— H E N— C H E— E P J— C H E— A L L 
J E A— L E G— E S T— H I G— D I E— DOR— C H E— Z K 

Here, out of 24 trials, the most probable number of exact suc- 
cesses being 1 , the actual number is 8 ; the most probable number of 
successes of the other ty^De being 8, the actual number is 17. The 
figures become still more striking if we regard certain consecutive 
series in the results. Thus the probability of obtaining by chance 
the three consecutive correspondences in the first experiment here 
quoted was 512 ; and that of obtaining the 6 consecutive correspon- 
dences in the CHEVALON experiment was about 100,000,000' 

The experiment was repeated four times in another form. A line 
of poetry was secretly and silently written down by the agent, with 
the omission of a single letter. He then asked what the omitted 
letter was ; it was correctly produced in every one of the four trials. 
The probability of such a result was less than ~^^, 

And now follows a very interesting observation. In some cases, after 
the result was obtained, subsequent trials were made iviththe same tuord, 
which of course the agent did not reveal in the meantime ; and the 
amount of success was sometimes markedly increased on these subse- 
quent trials. Thus, when the name thought of was d'O R M O N T, 
the first three letters produced on the first trial were E P J 

second „ E P F 
third „ EPS 

fourth „ DOR 

Summing up these four trials, the most probable number of exact 
successes was 0, and the actual number was 3 ; the most probable 


number of successes of the other type was 1 or at most 2 ; and the 
actual number was 10. The probability of the 3 consecutive 
successes in the last trial was about j^. 

In respect of this name d'Ormont, there was a further very 
peculiar result. On the fourth trial, the letters produced in the 
manner described stood thus — D O R E M I O D. 

Thus, if the name thought of were spelt D R E M N D, 
the approximation would be extraordinarily close, the probability of 
the accidental occurrence of the 5 consecutive successes being 
something infinitesimal.^ Now, as long as we are merely aiming at 
an unassailable mathematical estimate of probabilities for each 
particular case, it does not seem justifiable to takei/s of any sort into 
consideration. M. Richet, who was the agent, expressly tells us that 
he was imagining the name spelt as d'Ormont ; and on the strict 
account, therefore, the success reached a point against which the odds, 
though still enormous, were decidedly less enormous than if he had 
been imagining the other spelling. But when we are endeavouring to 
form a correct view of what really takes place, it would be unintelli- 
gent not to take a somewhat wider view of the phenomena. And such 
a view seems to show that in those underground mental regions where 
M. Richet's results (if more than accidental) must have had their 
preparation, a mistake or a piece of independence in spelling is by 
no means an unusual occurrence. The records of automatism, quite 
apart from telepathy, afford many instances of such independence. 
Thus a gentleman, writing automatically, was puzzled by the mention 
of a friend at Frontiinac — a place he had never heard of; weeks 
afterwards his own writing gave him the correct name — Fond du 
Lac. Mr. Myers' paper, above referred to, contains one case where a 
planchette wrote, "My name is Norman," presumably meaning 
Norval ; and another, witnessed by Professor Sidgwick, where the 
Greek letter x was automatically written as K H, with the result 
that for a time the word completely puzzled the writer. And while 
engaged on this very point I have received a letter from Mr. Julian 
Hawthorne, in which he tells me that the spelling of the planchette- 
writing obtained through the automatism of a young child of his own 
was " much better than in her own letters and journals." 

I will insert here an incident to which, since it occurred in connec- 
tion with a person who has been detected in the production of spurious 

1 Moreover the E in the 4th place had appeared in two of the preceding trials and the 
final O D in one of them. 


phenomena, I wish to attribute no evidential importance. Through- 
out this book care has been taken to rest our case exclusively on 
phenomena and records of phenomena derived from (as we believe) 
quite untainted sources ; but there are two reasons which seem to me 
to make the following experience worth describing. First, those who 
already believe in thought-transference will feel little doubt that wo 
have here an instance of it, which is in itself independent of the 
character and pretensions of the percipient ; and this being so, they 
will find, in the close parallelism that the case presents in some 
points to M. Richet's experiments, an interesting confirmation of these. 
And secondly, it may be useful to suggest that thought-transference 
is probably the true explanation of certain results professedly 
produced by " spiritualistic mediumship " ; for till telepathic per- 
cipience is allowed for, as a natural human faculty, the occasional 
manifestations of it in dubious circumstances are certain to be a 
source of confusion and error. 

On September 2, 1885, Mr. F. W. H. Myers, Dr. A. T. Myers, and 
the present writer paid an impromptu visit to a professional "medium" 
in a foreign town, who had no clue whatever to our names and 
identity. We had decided beforehand on a name on which to con- 
centrate our thoughts, with a view to getting it reproduced. There 
was no opportunity for employing M. Richet's precautions and checks. 
The " medium," her daughter, and the three visitors sat round a table 
on which their hands were placed, and the present writer pointed to 
the successive letters of a printed alphabet ; at intervals the sound of 
a rap was heard, and the letter thus indicated was written down. 
Now these conditions could not have been considered adequate, had 
the result been that the name in our minds was correctly given ; for 
though our two companions were not apparently looking at us and 
not in contact with us, it might have been supposed that some 
involuntary and unconscious movement on our part revealed to one of 
them at what points to make the raps. But as the result turned out, 
it will be seen, I think, that this objection does not apply. The name 
that had been selected was John Henry Pratt. The result obtained 
in the way described was J N H N Y E S R S A T. 

From the N in the fifth place to the end, Dr. Myers and myself 
regarded the letters that were being given as purely fortuitous, and as 
forming gibberish ; and though Mr. F. W. H. Myers detected a 
method in them, he was as far as we were from expecting the 
successive letters before they appeared. On inspection, the method 


becomes apparent. If in three places an approximation (of the sort so 
often met with by M. Richet) be allowed, and a contiguous letter be 
substituted, the complete name will be found to be given, thus : — 

the first word being phonetically spelt, and the other two being 
correct anagrams. It is highly improbable that such an amount 
of resemblance was accidental ; and it is difficult to suppose that 
it was due to muscular indications unconsciously given by us in 
accordance with an unconscious arrangement of the letters in our 
minds in phonetic and anagrammatic order. If these suppositions 
be excluded, the only alternative will be thought-transference — the 
letters whose image or sound was transferred being modified by 
the percipient herself, in a way which seems, from some experiments 
unconnected with thought-transference, to be quite within the 
scope of the mind's unconscious operations. ^ But in whatever way 
the knowledge of the letters or syllables reached the " medium's " 
mind, I see no reason to think that the expression of it by raps 
was other than a conscious act. The sounds were such as would be 
made by gently tapping the foot against the wooden frame of the table ; 
and at a subsequent trial with one of these so-called " mediums " — 
the daughter — I managed by very gradually advancing my own foot 
to receive on it first a part and ultimately the whole of the impact. 
The movement required to make the raps may have become semi- 
automatic from long habit, but can hardly have been unconscious. 
I may add that, out of a good many words and sentences which 
were spelt out in the same way at several different sittings, the case 
recorded was (with a single doubtful exception) the only one that 
contained the slightest indication of any abnormal faculty. 

To return to M. Richet's experiments — a result of a different 
kind was the following, which is especially noteworthy as due to the 
agency of an idea that was itself on the verge of the unconscious. 
M. Richet chose a quotation at random from Littre's dictionary, and 
asked for the name of the author, which was Legouve. The letters 
produced were JOSEPHCHD, which looked like a complete 
failure. But the quotation in the dictionary was adjacent to another 
from the works of Joseph Chenier ; and M. Richet's eye, in running 
over the page, had certainly encountered the latter name, which had 
probably retained a certain low place in his consciousness. Another 

1 For a curious case of the automatic production of anagrams, see Proceedings of the 
S.P.R., Vol. ii., pp. 226-31. 


very interesting case of a result unintciiided by the agent, though 
probably due to something in his mind, was this. The name thought 
of was Victor ; the letters produced on three trials were 



— seemingly complete failures. But it appeared that while the agent 
had been concentrating his thoughts on " Victor," the name of a 
friend, Danet, had spontaneously recurred to his memory. We should, 
of course, be greatly extending the chances of accidental success, if we 
reckoned collocations of letters as successful on the ground of their 
resemblance to any one of the names or words which may have 
momentarily found their way into the agent's mind while the 
experiment was in progress. Here, however, the name seems to have 
suggested itself with considerable persistence, and the resemblance is 
very close. And if the result may fairly be attributed to " mental 
suggestion," then, of the two names which had a certain lodgment in 
the agent's mind, the one intended to be effective was ineffective, and 
vice versa. 

It is a remarkable fact that in the few hitherto recorded cases of 
experimental telepathy, where words have been indicated by writing 
or by other movements on the percipient's part, the idea or word 
transferred seems as often as not to have been one which was not at 
the moment occupying the agent's consciousness ; that is to say, the 
influence has proceeded from some part of the agent's mind which is 
below the threshold of conscious attention. (See p. 84 below, and 
Vol. II., pp. 670-1.) This conception of unconscious agency — of an 
" unconscious intelligence " in the agent as well as in the percipient — 
will present itself again very prominently when we come to consider 
the cases of spontaneous telepathy. But the experimental instances 
have a theoretic importance of another sort. They seem to exhibit 
telepathic production of movements by what is at most an idea, and 
not a volition, on the agent's part. This, indeed, is a hypothesis which 
seems justified even by M. Richet's less exceptional results. For we 
must remember that in a sense A is throughout more immediately the 
agent than F ; it is what A's mind contributes, not what F's mind 
contributes, that produces the tilts at the right moments.^ But this 

1 When A, in pointing, began at the beginning of the alphabet, the sense of time 
might conceivably have led to an unconscious judgment as to the point arrived at. This 
idea had occurred to M. Richet. It seems, however, an unnecessary multiplication of 
hypotheses ; for we learn from him that in some trials A began at uncertain places, and 


is of course through no vjill of A's ; he is ignorant of the required 
word, and has absokitely no opportunity of bringing his volition into 
play. His " agency " is of a wholly passive sort ; and his mind, as it 
follows the course of his pen, is a mere conduit-pipe, whereby know- 
ledge of a certain kind obtains access to the " unconscious intelligence " 
which evokes the tilts. If, then, the knowledge manifests itself as 
impulse, can we avoid the conclusion that in this particular mode of 
access — in " mental suggestion " or telepathy as such — a certain 
impuhive quality is involved ? We shall encounter further signs of 
such an impulsive quality among the spontaneous cases.^ (See pp. 294, 

But of course the relation between F and the " medium " plays 
also a necessary part in the result ; the impulse to tilt when a 
particular letter is reached only takes effect when it falls (so to speak) 
on ground prepared by " mental suggestion " from F — on a mind in 
which the word imagined by him has obtained an unconscious 
lodgment. The unconscious part of the percipient's mind would thus 
be the scene of confluence of two separate telepathic streams, which 
proceed to combine there in an intelligent way — one proceeding from 
F's mind, which produces unconscious knowledge of the word, and the 
other proceeding from A's mind, which produces an unconscious image 

that under these conditions coherent words were obtained. The fact that so often the 
approximate letter was given, instead of the exact one, might seem at first sight to favour 
the hypothesis of unconscious reckoning; but it will be observed that exactly the same 
approximations took place in our own experiment (ijp.77-8), where the alphabet was in the 
" medium's " sight. 

1 The impulse might no doubt be otherwise accounted for if we supposed that a close 
connection was established in F's mind between the idea of the object — i.e., the successive 
letters — and the idea of the movement, and that this complex idea was what was trans- 
ferred and what ultimately took effect. But it is hard to apply this hypothesis to cases 
where a word is produced which, though latent in F's mind, has no resemblance to the word 
whose production he is willing. The transference of the idea of the latent word, even to 
the exclusion of the right word, can be quite conceived ; biit can we suppose that, sub- 
consciously or unconsciously, an idea of movement was combined with the idea of its letters 
in the agent's mind, at the very moment when that on which his attention was fixed, and 
with which ex hypothesi the conscious idea of movement u'as connected, was a quite 
different set of letters ? Can we suppose that the idea of movement overflowed into the 
unconscious region of his mind, and there on its o^^^l account formed an alliance with alien 
elements, the effect of which on the percipient would prevent the effect intended ? It must 
be remembered that where a word which is not the one intended gets transferred from F 
to the "medium," there is no knowledge, conscious or unconscious, on F's part, as to what 
that word will be. A number of words are latent in his mind ; one of these finds an echo 
in another mind. But how should the idea of movement find out which particular one, 
out of all the words, is destined thus to find an echo, so as to associate itself with ?Ys letters 
and no others ? And if we suppose the association to be between the unconscious idea of 
movement and the unconscious idea of letters in general, this is no less dissimilar and 
opposed to anything that the conscious part of F's mind has conceived. For it is not in 
letters as such, but in the exclusive constituents of a i)articular word, that he is interested ; 
if indeed he is interested in anything beyond the word as a whole. The difficultj' here 
seems to justify the suggestion — \vith which I imagine that M. Richet would agree — that 
the physiological impulse does not deiiend on any idea of movement, or any special direction 
of the agent's will to that result. This might be tested, if F were a person ignorant of the 
form of the exijeriment, and out of sight of the table. 


of the successive letters.^ Another possible supposition would be that 
F's thought affects, not the " medium," but A ; or conversely, that 
A's thought affects not the " medium," but F ; — that A obtains 
unconscious knowledge of the Avord, or that F obtains unconscious 
knowledge of the letter, and so is enabled to communicate an impulse 
to the " medium " at the right moment. And we should then have to 
suppose a secret understanding between two parts of A's or F's mind 
the part which takes account of the letters of the alphabet, and the 
part which takes account of the letters of the word — the former being 
conscious and the latter unconscious, or vice versa, according as A or 
F is the party affected. 

One hesitates to launch oneself on the conceptions which these 
experiments open up ; but the only alternative would be to 
question the facts from an evidential point of view. So regarded, 
they are of an extremely simple kind ; and if their genuineness 
be granted, we are reft once and for all from our old psychological 
moorings. The whole question of the psychical constitution of 
man is opened to its furthest depths ; and our central con- 
ception — telepathy — the interest of which, even in its simpler 
phases, seemed almost unsurpassable, takes on an interest of a 
wholly unlooked-for kind. For it now appears as an all-important 
method or instrument for testing the mind in its hidden parts, and for 
measuring its unconscious operations. 

§ 14. Theabovesketch(forit is little more) may give an idea of the 
chief experimental results so far obtained in the course of serious and 
systematic research.^ But though the investigation may be laboriously 
and consecutively pursued by those who make a special study of the 
subject, it is one which admits also of being prosecuted in a more 
haphazard and sporadic manner, A group of friends may take it up for 
a few evenings, and then get tired of it ; and it is quite possible for 
valuable results to be obtained without any recognition of their 
value. One or two specimens of these casual successes that we so 

1 It will be seen that the results of such " unconscious intelligence " go 
considerably beyond the received results of mere "unconscious cerebration." Un- 
conscious cerebration is amply competent to produce such seemingly intelligent 
actions as ordinary \\Titing ; but what is now done more resembles the formation 
of a word by picking letters from a heap, or tyi_)e-writing by a person who is 
unused to his instrument. The process is not one in which every item is connected by 
long-stfinding association with the one bi'fore and after it ; every item is independent, ami 
implies the recognition, at an uncertain moment, of a particular relation — that between 
the next letter required for the word and the same letter in its place in a quite distinct 

- Some further experimental cases will be found in Chap. i. of the Supplement, 
and in the Additional Chapter at the end of Vol. ii. 



frequently hear of may be worth citing, if only because the 
knowledge that such results are obtainable may stimulate further 
trials. Our own satisfaction in such fragments of evidence is often 
more than counterbalanced by the impossibility of getting our friends 
to devote time and trouble to the work. 

The following case, received in September, 1885, from Mrs. 
Wilson, of Westal, Cheltenham, is interesting as an apparent victory 
of " thought-reading" over " muscle-reading." A group of live " willers" 
one of whom was in contact with the would-be percipient, were to 
concentrate their minds on the desire that the latter should sit down 
to the piano and strike the middle C. Had she done so, the result 
would have been worth little ; but this was what happened : — 

" When A. I. entered blindfolded — her hand in the hand of B, held over 
the forehead — M. A. W. was possessed with the desire to will her, without 
bodily contact, to come to her and give her a kiss on the forehead, and she 
at once exerted (unknown to the others) all her will to achieve this object. 
A. I. came slowly up to M. A. W., till she stood quite close, touching her, 
and commenced bending down towards her, when M. A. W., thinking it 
was hardly fair to succeed against the other ' willers,' tried to reverse her 
will, and with intense effort willed A. I. to turn away and not give the 
intended kiss. Slowly A. I raised her head, stood a moment still, then 
turned in another direction towards the piano, but not near it, and sat 
down in an armchair. A few seconds after she said : ' I can't feel any 
impression now, nor any wish to do anything.' She was released from her 
bandage and questioned as to her feelings. ' Did you get any impression 
of what you had to do 1 What did you feeU' She replied : 'I had a distinct 
feehng that I had to go and kiss M. A. W. on the forehead ; but when I 
€ame up to someone and bent down to do it, I was sensible of a strong 
feeling that I was not to do it — and could not do it ; and after that I could 
get no impression whatever.' <« Mary A. Wilson. 

" Alice M. W. Ingram." 

The percipient in both the following cases was our friend, the 
Hon. Alexander Yorke. In the summer of 1884 he mentioned to 
two nieces, as a joke, that some one had suggested to him the 
possibility of discerning the contents of letters pressed to the fore- 
head ; and this quack suggestion led by accident to an apparently 
genuine experiment in thought-transference. 

The account is from the Misses Adeane, of 19, Ennismorc 
Gardens, S.W. "June, 1884. 

" Taking a letter from a heap on my mother's table, 1 glanced at the 
contents, and then placed it on my uncle's head, where he held it. A 
minute had hardly elapsed before he said, quite quietly, ' This letter is not 
addressed to your mother.' He then paused, as if waiting for another 
impression. ' It is written to Charlie ' (my brother), and another pause, 
'■ by an uncle — not a real uncle — a sort of uncle.' Another pause, ' It 


must be about business.' At this point I was so much astonished tliat 1 
could not help telling him how true and correct all liis impressions liad 
been, which practically put an end to the experiment by giving a clue as 
to what the business was, etc. My younger sister was the only other 
person in the room at the time. The letter was addressed to my brother 
at Oxford by his trustee, and uncle by marriage, and related to business ; 
he had forwarded it to my mother to read, and I selected it pai-tly by 
chance, and partly because I thought, if there was only guessing in the 
case, it would have been a puzzler. My uncle, Mr. Yorke, does not know 
the writer of the letter or his handwriting. "M\rie C Adeavf 

"Maude Adeaxe." 
Again, the mother of these informants, Lady Elizabeth Biddulph, 
writes to us, on June 12, 1884 : — 

"My girls came down to the drawing-room with my brother, Mr. 
Alexander Yorke, about 3.30 on Sunday afternoon. May 18th. I was 
sitting with one of Mr. Biddulph's brothers, and his sister, Mrs. L. They 
had just brought me a letter sent by mistake to 31, Eaton Place. 
Presently Captain and Lady Edith Adeane came in, and then my two girls 
began telling us of what had happened upstairs. I immediately rushed at 
the letter 1 had just received, and laughing, held it to Mr. Yorke's 
forehead : he objected, saying, ' 1 shall probably fail, and then you will 
only laugh at the whole thing.' He thrust my hand away, and I left tlie 
matter alone and went on talking to my relations. Presently my brother 
rose to go, and hesitating rather, said, ' Well, my dear, the impression 
about that letter is so strong that 1 must tell you the Duchess of St. 
Albans wrote it.' It was so. She does not correspond ^vith me ; the 
letter, too, having been addressed by mistake to 31, Eaton Place, made it 
more unlikely there should be any clue, and its contents were purely of a 
business-like character. " Elizabeth P. Biddulph." 

On another similar occasion, the present writer saw a letter taken 
up casually from a writing-table, and held to Mr. Yorke's forehead, 
in such a way that he could not possibly catch a glimpse of the 
writing. He correctly described the writer as an elderly man, 
formerly connected with himself, but could not name him. The 
writer had, in fact, been his tutor at one time. It need hardly be said 
that no importance is to be attributed to the holding of the letters to 
the forehead. In every case the writer and the contents of the letter 
were known to some person in the percipient's inmiediate \dcinity, 
and that being so, any other hypothesis than that of thought- 
transference is gratuitous. 

The following incident is an excellent casual illustration of the 
motor form of experiment to which the cases described on pp. 78-9 
belonged. It presents, indeed, a point which would lead some to place 
it in a separate category: the names unexpectedly produced were those 
of dead persons. But where the "communication " contains nothing 

G 2 


beyond the content, or the possible manufacture, of the minds of the 
living persons present, it seems reasonable to refer it to those minds — 
at any rate until the power of the dead to communicate with the 
living be established by accumulated and irrefragable evidence. 

One evening in August, 188-5, some friends were assembled in a 
house at Rustington ; and the younger members of the party suggested 
" table-turning " as an amusement. Three ladies — Mrs. W. B. Richmond, 
Mrs. Perceval Clark, and another — were seated apart from the larger 
group ; and a small table on which they laid their hands, and which was 
light enough to be easily moved by unconscious pressure, soon became 
lively. The alphabet being repeated, the sentence " Harriet knew me 
years ago," was tilted out. The name of me was asked for. " Kate 
Gardiner " was the answer. These names conveyed notliing to the three 
ladies at the table, but they caught the attention of a member of the 
other group, Mr. R. L. Morant. This gentleman was acting as holiday- 
tutor to Mrs. Richmond's boys, and had not befoi-e that been acquainted 
with any of the party ; nor had Mrs. Richmond herself the slightest 
knowledge of his family-history. On hearing the names, lie asked that 
" Harriet's " surname should be given. The name " Morant " was tilted 
out. In reply to further questions, put of course in such a way as not to 
suggest the answers, and while Mr. Morant remained at the further end 
of the room, the tilts produced the information that Harriet and Kate 
met at Kingstown, and that Harriet was Mr. Morant's great-aunt, his 
father " Robin " Morant being her nephew. 

We have received in writing three independent and concordant 
accounts of this occurrence — from Mrs. Richmond, from the tliird lady at 
the table (who is hostile to the subject, but who was probably the 
unconscious percipient), and from Mr. Morant, who adds : — 

" I felt distinctly and always rightly, when it would answer, and what 
it would answer. I found that it always answered the questions of which 
I kneiv the answer; and was silent when I did not: e.g., it would not 
say how many years ago [the meeting was]. I was quite ignorant of where 
they met ; that was the only answer beyond my knowledge. [It is not 
known if this answer was correct.] All the names given are correct : my 
father's name was Robert, but he was always called Robin. Kate 
Gardiner was a friend of my father ; I believe she helped to arrange his 
marriage. Harriet Morant was his aunt. I am ignorant of much about 
this aunt ; and from reading some old correspondence in June, I was par- 
ticularly anxious to learn more about these names. No one at the table can 
possibly have known anything ivhntever ahout anyone of the names given. "'^ 

It is, of course, a matter of interest to know what indications 
of genuine telepathy may be afforded by these less systematic 
trials. For experiments with a comparatively small number of 
" subjects " (like those before described), however conclusive we 
may consider them as to the existence of a special faculty, afford 
no means of judging how common that faculty may be. If it exists, 

^ See another very similar case in Vol. ii., pp. 670-1. 


we have no reason to expect it to be extremely uncommon ; on the 
contrary, we should rather expect to find an appreciable degree of it 
tolerably widely diffused. But (putting aside the results of § 7, 
above,) our only means, at present, for judging how far this is the case 
is by considering the evidence of persons who were, so to speak, 
amateur observers, and who in some cases were not even aware that 
the matter had any scientific importance. Such evidence must, of 
course, be received with due allowances, and, if it stood alone, might 
be wholly inadequate to establish the case for telepathic phenomena ; 
but if these be otherwise established, it would be illogical to shut our 
eyes to alleged results which fall readily into the same class, provided 
the trials appear to have been conducted with intelligence and care. 

It is unnecessary to say that this last proviso at once excludes the 
vast majority of the cases which one reads about in the newspapers, 
or hears discussed in private circles. We have already seen that the 
subject of " thought-reading " has obtained its vogue by dint of 
exhibitions which, however clever and interesting, have no sort of 
claim to the name. The prime requisite is that the conditions shall 
preclude the possibility of unconscious guidance ; that contact between 
the agent and the percipient shall be avoided ; or that the form of 
experiment shall not require movements, but the percipient shall give 
his notion of the transferred impression — card, number, taste, or 
whatever it may be — by word of mouth. That these conditions have 
been observed is itself an indication that experiments have been 
intelligently conducted ; and the cases of this sort of which we have 
received records are at any rate numerous enough to dispel the dis- 
quieting sense that the possibility of accumulating evidence for our 
hypothesis depends on the transient endowment of a few most 
exceptional individuals. I have spoken above of the urgent 
importance of spreading the responsibility for the evidence as widely 
as possible — in other words, of largely increasing the number of 
persons, reputed honest and intelligent, who must be either knaves 
or idiots if the alleged transference of thought took place through 
any hitherto recognised channels. And our hopes in this direction 
are, of course, the better founded, in so far as the necessary material 
for experimentation is not of extreme rarity. If what has been here 
said induces a wider and more systematic search for this material, and 
increased perseverance in following up all indications of its existence, 
a very distinct step will have been taken towards the general 
acceptance of the facts. 




§ 1. In all the cases of the action of one mind on another that were 
considered in the last chapter, both the parties concerned — percipient 
as well as agent — were consciously and voluntarily taking part in the 
experiment with a definite idea of certain results in view. Spon- 
taneous telepathy, as its name implies, differs from experimental 
in precisely this particular — that neither agent nor percipient has 
consciously or voluntarily formed an idea of any result whatever. 
Something happens for which both alike are completely unprepared. 
But between these two great classes of cases there is a sort of 
transitional class, which is akin to each of the others in one marked 
feature. In this class the agent acts consciously and voluntarily ; he 
exercises a concentration of mind with a certain object, as in experi- 
mental thought-transference ; he is in this way truly experimenting.^ 
But the 'percipient is not consciously or voluntarily a party to the 
experiment ; as in spontaneous telepathy, his mind has not been in 
any way adjusted to the result ; he finds himself affected in a certain 
manner, he knows not by what means. 

In another way, also, this class of cases serves as a connecting link 
between the other two. For it introduces us to results produced at a 
much greater distance than any of those that have been so far described. 
Not that greater distance between the agent and percipient is in any 
way a distinguishing mark of the spontaneous, as opposed to the experi- 
mental, effects; the former no less than the latter — as we shall see reason 
to think — may take place between persons in the same room. But in 
the large majority of the spontaneous cases that we shall have to notice, 
the distance was considerable. And in the transitional class we meet 

1 It shoiild be observed, however, that unless he records his experiment at the time, 
the case will stand on a different footing from those of the last chapter. 


with specimens of both kinds — effects produced in the same room, 
and effects produced at a distance of many miles. 

§ 2. In these transitional cases — as in those of the last chapter — 
the effect may show itself either in ideas and sensations which the 
percipient describes, or in actions of a more or less automatic sort. 
The motoi' cases have been by far the most heard of, and are, indeed, 
popularly supposed to be tolerably common ; but this idea has 
no real foundation. The allegations of certain persons that, 
e.g., they can make strangers in church or in a theatre turn their 
heads, by " willing " that they should do so, cannot be accepted as 
establishing even a primid facie case. Till accurate records are kept, 
such cases must clearly be reckoned as mere illusions of post hoc 
propter hoc — of successes noted and failures forgotten. Authentic 
instances of the kind seem, as it happens, always to be more or less 
closely connected with mesmerism. And even as regards mesmeric 
cases where a definite action or course of action is produced by silent 
or distant control, the first thing to remark is that many phenomena 
are popularly referred to this category which have not the slightest 
claim to a place in it. The common platform exhibition, where a 
profession is made of "willing" a particular person to attend, and he 
rushes into the room at the appointed moment, is not to be 
attributed to any infiuence then and there exercised, but is the 
effect of the command or the threat impressed on his mind 
when in its wax-like condition of trance on a previous evening. 
Nor, as a rule, do the cases where " subjects " are said to be 
drawn by their controller from house to house, or even to a 
distant town, prove any specific power of his will, or anything 
beyond the general influence and attraction which he has established, 
and which is liable every now and then to recrudesce in his absence, 
and to manifest itself in this startling form.^ 

1 Signs of this general mesmeric influence occur occasionally in the records of 
witchcraft. (See,, The Discover i/ uf Sorcery and Witchcraft i^ractised hi/ Jane Wenham, 
London, 1712.) It would scarcely be safe to interpret in any other way such an 
isolated case as the following of the late jSIr. H. S. Thompson's : — 

"Mr. John Dundas, who was very much interested in mesmerism, was staying with 
me at Fairfield, about eight miles from Sutton. He one evening suggested that I 
should try and influence ^Nlrs. Thornton at a distance ; this was about 'J o'clock. I tried, 
but only for a few minutes, never thinking I should succeed. We went over to Sutton 
next day, when Mr. Harland said, ' You nmst take care what experiments you try on 
Mrs. Thornton, as she has become so sensitive to you, that she not only goes to sleej) when 
you are present, but last night after dinner she went to sleep, and rushed to the hall door, 
saying she must go to Fairfield, as Mr. Thompson wanted her. And we had great ditiiculty 
in waking her.' " 

The incident is a striking one; but we need to know whether Mrs. Thornton ever behaved 
in the manner described at times when Mr. Thompson was not trying to influence her. 


Very much rarer are the really crucial cases where the intended 
effect — the origination or inhibition of a motor-impulse — is brought 
about at the moment by a deliberate exercise of volition. In some of 
the more striking instances, the inhibition has been of that specific 
sort which temporarily alters the whole condition of the " subject," 
and induces the mesmeric trance. In the Zoist for April, 1849, Mr. 
Adams, a surgeon of Lymington, writing four months after the event, 
describes how a guest of his own twice succeeded in mesmerising the 
man-servant of a common friend at a distance of nearly fifty miles, 
the time when the attempt was to be made having in each case been 
privately arranged with the man's master. On the first occasion, the 
unwitting "subject" fell at the time named, 7.30 p.m., into a state of 
profound coma not at all resembling natural sleep, from which he was 
with difficulty aroused. He said that " before he fell asleep he had 
lost the use of his legs ; he had endeavoured to kick the cat away, 
and could not do so." On the second occasion a similar fit was 
induced at 9.80 a.m., when the man was in the act of walking across 
a meadow to feed the pigs. But the following case is more striking, 
as resting on the testimony of a man whose name must perforce be 
treated with respect. Dr. Esdaile says : — ^ 

(1) "I had been looking for a blind man on whom to test the imagina- 
tion theory, and one at last presented himself. This man became so 
susceptible that, by making him the object of my attention, I could 
entrance him in whatever occupation he was engaged, and at any 
distance within the hospital enclosure. . . . My first attempt 
to influence the blind man was made by gazing at him silently over 
a wall, while he was engaged in the act of eating his solitary dinner, 
at the distance of twenty yards. He gradually ceased to eat, and in 
a quarter of an hour was profoundly entranced and cataleptic. This was 
repeated at the most untimely hours, when he could not possibly know of 
my being in his neighbourhood, and always with like results." 

1 Naturcd and Mesmeric Clairvoyance, pp. 227-8. See also Mr. Cattell's case in the 
Zoist, Vol. viii. , p. 143 ; where the sijecial circumstances seem sufficiently to exclude the 
hypothesis of expectancy. 

These examples of distant influence have a bearing on the question as to the efficacy 
of concentrated attention in more ordinary mesmeric processes. Elliotson asserts that his 
own manipulations were often successful, however mechanically and inattentively carried 
out ; and Bertrand [Du Magnetisme Animal, p. 341) makes a similar remark. Other 
operators have said that their passes were ineffectual, unless accompanied by distinct 
intention. The Rev. C H. Townshend made this observation in an experiment with the 
celebrated naturalist, Agassiz, whom he was mesmerising while himself distracted by the 
non-arrival of some expected letters. "Although I was at the time engaged in the 
mesmeric processes to all appearance as actively as usual, my patient called out to me 
constantly and coincidently with the remission of my thought, ' You influence me no 
longer ; you are not exerting yourself.' " And the above cases certainly favour the view 
that the exercise of any specific influence will normally have a well-marked psychical 
side. (See also Nos. 688, 689, 690.) It is interesting to find Esdaile making the same 
observation as Townshend in respect even of the very definite manipulations of his 
Hindoo assistants, where, if anywhere, we might have assumed a purely physical and 
mechanical agency. 


Cases of ivdking a hypnotic " subject " by the silent exercise of the 
will have been recorded by Reichenbach/ and by the Committee 
appointed by the French Royal Academy of Medicine to investigate 
" animal magnetism." In their Report, published in 1831, this 
Committee say that they " could entertain no doubt as to the very 
decided effects which magnetism produced upon the ' subject,' even 
without his knowledge, and at a certain distance." A more recent 
case will be found in Vol. II., p. 685. 

§ 3. But, besides such examples of the induction of trance, the 
records of mesmerism contain a good many cases of the induction or 
inhibition of particular actions ; and where persons who appeared to 
be in a perfectly normal state have had their will similarly dominated, 
or their actions dominated against their will, it has almost always, I 
think, been through the agency of some person who has given indi- 
cations of considerable mesmeric power. The Rev. J. Lawson Sisson, 
Rector of Edingthorpe, North Walsham, (whose interest in mesmerism, 
like that of so many others, began with the discovery of his own 
power to alleviate pain,) describes the following experiment as having 
been performed on an incredulous lady, whose first experience of his 
influence had been a few moments' subjection to the slightest possible 
hjrpnotic process in the course of the evening.^ 

(2) " Conversation went on on other topics, and then followed a light 
supper. Several of the gentlemen, myself among the number, were 
obliged to stand. I stood talking to a friend, against the wall, and at the 
back of Miss Cooke, some three or four feet off her. Her wine-glass was 
filled, and I made up my mind that she should not drink without my 
' willing.' I kept on talking and watching her many futile attempts to 
get the glass to her mouth. Sometimes she got it a few inches from the 
level of the table, sometimes she got it a little higher, but she evidently 
felt that it Avas not for some reason to be done. At last 1 said, ' Miss 
Cooke, why don't you drink your wine ? ' and her answer was at once, ' I 
will when you let me.' " 

The Zoist contains several cases of apparently the same kind ; 
though, unfortunately, the narrators have seldom recognised the need 
of making it clear that the possibility of physical indications was 
completely excluded. Thus Mr. Earth records of a patient of his own 
(Vol. VII., p. 280) :— 

1 Der Sensitive Mensch (Stuttgart, 1855), Vol. ii., pp. 6G5-G. 

" For results of a still simpler type, see the record of the experiments made on 
M. Petit, in the Report of the French Committee above mentioned. ISIr. Siss^on says of 
one of his subjects that, when she was walking many yards in front of him, and engaged 
in conversation, " I could, by raising my hand and viUin<i it, draw her head quite back. 
It fell back, neither to right'nor left, as "though it had been pulled by a cord." 


(3) " When she wished to leave the room, I could at any time prevent 
her, by willing that she should stay, and this silently. I could not arrest 
her progress whilst she was in motion, but if she stood for a moment and 
I mentally said ' Stand,' she stood unable to move from the spot. If she 
placed her hand on the table I could affix it by my will alone, and unfix it 
by will. If she held a ruler or paper-knife in her closed hand, I could 
compel her by will alone to unclose her hand and drop the article. 
Frequently when she has been at the tea-table, and I quite behind and 
out of siglit, have I locked her jaws or arrested her hand with her bread- 
and-butter in it, when half way betwixt her plate and her mouth." 

And Mr. N. Dunscombe, J.P. {Zoist, Vol. IX., p. 438), narrates of 
himself that, having attended some mesmeric performances, he was 
for some time at the mercy of the operator's silent will. 

(4) " He has caused me, by way of experiment, to leave my seat in one 
part of my house, and follow him all through it and out of it until I found 
him. He was not in the room ^vith me, neither had I the slightest idea of 
his attempting the experiment. I felt an unaccountable desire to go in a 
certain direction." 

Most remarkable of all are the cases of acts performed under the 
silent control of the late Mr. H. S. Thompson, of Moorfields, York, 
though here again we have to regret that the signed corroboration of 
the persons affected was not obtained at the time. Mr. Thompson's 
interest in mesmerism lay almost entirely in the opportunities which 
his power gave him of alleviating suffering ; and having succeeded in 
giving relief to a patient, it is to him a comparatively small matter 
to be able to say {Zoist, Vol. V., p. 257) : — 

" I have often, by the will, made her perform a series of trifling acts, 
though, when asked why she did them, she has answered that she did 
them without observing them, and had no distinct wish to do them as 
far as she was aware." 

Some of his descriptions, however, are more explicit. He gave 
us permission to publish, for the first time on his authority, an 
account of an after-dinner incident which made much sensation in 
Yorkshire society when it occurred, and which even twenty years 
afterwards was still alluded to with bated breath, as a manifest proof 
of the alliance of mesmerists with the devil. The account was sent 
to us in November, 1883. 

(5) " In 1837, I first became acquainted with mesmerism tlirough Baron 
Dupotet. The first experiment I tried was upon a Mrs. Thornton, who 
was staying with some friends of mine, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Harland, of 


Sutton. She told me tliat no one had ever succeeded in mesmerising 
her, though she soon submitted to being mesmerised by me. She went to 
sleep at once, and was very strongly influenced by my will. One night 
when I was dining with Mr. Harland, after the ladies had left the 
room, some gentleman proposed that I slioukl will her to come back 
again, which I did. She came directly, and after this I could not go to 
the house without her going to sleep, even if she did not know that I was 

In the same letter, Mr. Thompson continues : — 

" I have met with many cases of thought-reading, but none so distinct 
as in a little girl named Crowther. She had had brain fever, which had 
caused a protrusion of the eyes. Of this ill efiect I soon relieved her, and 
found that she was naturally a thought-reader. I practised on her a good 
deal, and at length there was no need for me to utter what I wished to 
say, as she always knew my thoughts. I was showing some experiments 
to a Dr. Simpson, and he asked me to will her to go and pick a piece of 
white heather out of a large vase full of flowers there was in the room, and 
bring it to me. She did this as quickly as if I had spoken to her. All 
these experiments were performed when the girl was awake, and not in a 
mesmeric sleep." 

The next account (received in 1883) is none the less interesting 
that it is of a partial failure ; and in this case we have the advantage 
of the percipient's own testimony. The lady who sent it to us is a 
cousin of Mr. Thompson's and has had other similar experiences ; but 
at this distance of time can only recollect the following, whose 
absurdity vividly impressed her mind. 

(6) " I was sitting one day in the library. No one else was in the room 
except my cousin, Henry Thompson, who was reading at the other end of 
the room. Gradually I felt an unaccountable impulse stealing over me, 
an impulse to go up to him and kiss him. I had been in the habit of kiss- 
ing him from childhood upwards at intervals, when I left the sitting-room 
before going to bed, or when he came to say good-bye at the termination 
of a visit, &c., as a matter of course, not of pleasure. In this instance 
the inclination to kiss him struck me as being so extraordinary and 
ridiculous as to make it an impossibility. I have no recollection of leav- 
ing the room, though I may have done so, but in the evening when he 
said to me at dinner, ' I tried to will you to-day and failed,' I answered 
at once, ' I know perfectly tvltcn you were willing me, and what you 
wanted me to do, though I did not suspect it at the time. But you were 
willing me to kiss you in the library, and 1 had the greatest inclination to 
do so!' 'And why would you not?' he asked, and laughed innno- 
derately at my answering that I was so astonished at myself for feeling an 
inclination to kiss him that I resisted it at once. I had ne^•er been 
mesmerised liy him, and my will was not subservient to his. 

" L. F. C." 


And here a word may be in place as to the relation of the will to 
telepathic experiments in general. That the will of the agent or 
operator is usually in active play, admits, of course, of no doubt ; but 
the nature and extent of its operation are sometimes misconceived. 
In ordinary thought-transference, it is probably effective only so far as 
it implies strong concentration of the agent's own attention on the 
sensation or image which he seeks to convey. As a rule he will 
naturally desire that the experiment should succeed ; but, provided only 
that the necessary concentration be given, there is nothing to show, or 
even to suggest that, if for some special reason he desired failure, his 
desire would ensure that result. It is somewhat different with cases 
like the above, where a distinct set of visible actions — as that the 
performer shall walk to a particular spot or select a particular object 
— is the thing aimed at ; in so far as there the desire is likely to be 
keener and more persistent. When we are picturing a series of move- 
ments to be performed by a person in our sight, we easily come to 
regard that person's physique under a half-illusion that we can direct 
it from moment to moment, as though it were our own ; and w^e are 
more on edge, so to speak, than when we are merely imagining 
(say) a word or a number, and waiting for the " subject " to 
name it, or write it down. But even here there is little founda- 
tion for the idea that the operator's will in any way dominates the 
other will, or that he succeeds by superior "strength of will" in 
any ordinary sense. It is still primarily an iriiage, not any form of 
force, that is conveyed — but an image of movement, i.e., an image 
whose nervous correlate in the brain is in intimate connection with 
motor-centres ; and the muscular effect is thus evoked while the 
" subject " remains a sort of spectator of his own conduct. The 
last example of Mr. Thompson's powers goes as near as any I know 
to the actual production of an effect on the self-determining 
faculty of a person in a normal state ; but even here, it will be 
observed, the action suggested was of a simple sort, and one which the 
" subject " had often voluntarily performed. And in mesmeric cases 
— as in the experiments on inhibition of utterance in the last chapter 
— where, no doubt, the self-determining faculty is often to a great 
extent abrogated, we must still beware of concluding that the 
" subject's " will is dominated and directed this way or that by a 
series of special jets of energy. It is rather that his instinct of choice, 
his free-will as a whole, has lapsed, as one of the general features of 
the trance-condition. It is worth noting, moreover, that in none of 


the cases quoted have the " wilier " or the " willed " been further 
removed from one another than two neighbouring rooms. The 
liability to have definite acts compelled from a distance, which figures 
in romance and in popular imagination as the natural and terrible 
result of mesmeric influence, is precisely the result for which we can 
find least evidence. 

We have, however, in our own collection, two first-hand instances 
where the distance between the agent and the percipient was 
greater, and where the action to be performed was of a rather more 
complicated sort.i We received the following case in 1888 from the 
agent, Mr. S. H. B., a friend of our own. The first part of the account 
was copied by us from a MS. book, in which Mr. B. has recorded this 
and other experiments. 

(7) "On Wednesday, 26th July, 1882, at 10.30 p.m., I willed very 
strongly that Miss V., who was living at Clarence Road, Kew, should 
leave any part of that house in wliich slie might happen to be at the time, 
and that she should go into her bedroom, and remove a portrait from 
her dressing-table. 

" When I next saw Iier she told me that at tliis particular time and 
on this day, she felt strongly impelled to go up to her room and remove 
something from her dressing-table, but she was not sure which article to 
misplace. She did so and removed an article, but not the framed portrait 
which I had thought of. 

" Between the time of the occurrence of this fact and that of our 
next meeting, I received one or two letters, in wliich the matter is alluded 
to and my questions concerning it answered. 

"S. H. B."-' 

Mr. B. was himself at Southall on the evening in question. He has 
shown the letters of which he speaks to the present writer, and has allowed 
him to copy extracts. 

On Thursday, July 27th, without having seen or had any communica- 
tion with INIr. B., Miss Verity (now residing in Castellain Road, W., who 
allows the publication of her name) wrote to him as follows : — 

" What were you doing between ten and eleven o'clock on Wednesday 
evening ? If you make me so restless, I shall begin to be afraid of you. I 
positively could not stay in the dining-room, and I believe you meant 
me to be upstairs, and to move something on my dressing-table. I 
want to see if you know what it was. At any rate, I am sure you were 
thinking about me." 

Mr. B. then wrote and told Miss Verity that the object he had thought 
of was Mr. G.'s pliotograph. She answered : — 

" I must tell you it was not G.'s photo, but sometliing on my table 

1 See Vol. ii., pj). 1)80-1. In case G87 the distance was about 100 yards. 
- This entry is undated ; but IMr. B. assures us that it was written very soon after 
the event. 


which perhaps you would never think of. However, it was really 
wonderful how impossible I found it to think or do anything until I came 
upstairs, and I hiew for certain that your thoughts were here ; in fact, 
it seemed as if you were very near." 

[More than a year after these letters were written, an absolutely 
concordant account was given viva voce to the present writer by Miss 
Verity, whom he believes to be a thoroughly careful and conscientious 

We have a parallel instance to this on equally trustworthy 
authority ; but the person impressed has a dread of the subject, and 
will not give his testimony for publication.^ 

§ 4. I now turn to the second class of transitional cases ; that 
where ideas and sensations unconnected with movement are excited, 
in a person who is not a conscious party to the experiment, by the 
concentrated but unexpressed will of another. And here, even more 
than before, I have to admit how scanty in every sense are the 
accounts which former observers have published.^ Of ideational cases, 
one of the most striking, if correctly reported, is that given by the 
Rev. L. Lewis in the Zoist, Vol. V., p. 324. 

"Gateacre, October, 1847. 

(8) " One evening, at a friend's house, and in the presence of several 
spectators, E. C. was put into the sleep, when I suggested to the magnetiser 
[Mr. Lewis's son] that he should attempt inducing perso7iation, that is, 
making the magnetised person assume different characters by means of the 
will and passes alone. 

" The first individual agreed upon was myself, with whom E. C. was well 
acquainted, and my name was given to the magnetiser on paper. After a 

1 The following case, though sufficiently like the above to be worth quoting, cannot be 
pressed as evidence ; for there is an appreciable chance that the impulse felt was acci- 
dental. Its interest partly depends on the fact that the ladies concerned report that 
they have occasionally had very striking successes in the ordinary experimental thought- 
transference. The account was received in 1884, from the Misses Barr, of Apsley Town, 
East Grinstead. . 

"I and my sister E. had been in the habit, for some years, of trying our power of 
' will ' over my youngest sister H., and had succeeded so well that in the winter of 1874-5, 
E., being then in London, determined to test her will-power over H., who was then living 
in 'the North of Scotland. E. was very anxious to have a certain pair of shoes sent to her 
in time for a ball to which she was going, and there was not time enough for a letter to go 
to Scotland, and for the shoes to be sent by post. She therefore determined to ' wdl H. 
to go into her room in the house in Scotland, fetch the shoes, and start them off by post. 

" On the afternoon of that day H. brought the shoes into the dra\ring-room, where we 
were sitting, saying, ' I've a fixed idea that E. wants these shoes, so I am just gomg to 
send them ofE to her. ' , r n • 

" E was delighted, yet half-surprised, to receive them on the following day. 

"Lizzie M. Barr." 

" I perfectly remember the above incident, and also the vague but impressed feelings 
which prompted my actions. My sister E. had been absent in England for some weeks, 
and I did not know she was going to a ball. It was a most unusual thing for me to enter 
her room while she was away, and I wondered at myself for doing so, and especially^^ for 
opening one of her drawers. "Harriet A. S. Barr. 

- See however Vol. ii., pp. 334-6 and 676-8. 


few passes having been made by him over E. C, she assumed ratlier a 
dictatorial tone, comphiining of interruption wlien spoken to, as it was 
Saturday night, when she was busy writing. I shall draw a curtain over 
my other frailties, and proceed to the mention of characters well known in 
the world, but whom E. C. had never seen. 

"The tir'st of these was Queen Victoria. With i-egard to this name the 
company observed the same silence as before, only writing it on paper, 
and the magnetiser pursued the same method also witii E. C But 
the dignity which she very soon assumed, the lofty tone ^vith which 
she asked questions, so contrary to her usual disposition, the orders she 
issued to the various persons of the household, and especially her conver- 
sation with Prince Albert (whose person the magnetiser had assumed),^ her 
i-emonstrances at his staying so long from the castle contrary to her express 
commands, and her threats that he should not be permitted to leave again, 
excited instantly peals of laughter, and on reflection, the most intense 

" The name of Sir Robert Peel was then written by one of the company, 
and given to the magnetiser. He then magnetised her, and she soon gave 
unequivocal proofs of her personating the noble baronet by conversations 
with the Queen on the state of the country, and answering several political 
questions in accordance with his well-known sentiments. 

" From Conservatism it was thought the best step next to take was 
Liberalism, and the name of Daniel O'Connell was handed to the mag- 
netiser. Now E. C.'s replies were of a different nature, whether political 
or religious ; but there was one question which she answered in a peculiar 
manner, yet whether in unison with the views of the late celebrated 
' Liberator' I know not. When the magnetiser asked her what she thought 
of the English Church Establishment, she replied that the ' Establishment 
was already on crutches, and would soon be down.' 

"The last personation was that of a young lady whom E. C. had never 
seen or heard of, and who was then more than one hundred miles distant, 
but her mother and sisters were present. The same mode of secrecy was 
adopted in this as well as in all other instances, so that it was impossible 
E. C. should have been able to guess the name. The absent person was the 
daughter of a lady at whose house these experiments were made. When 
E. C. was willed to personate the proposed character, the first thing she 
uttered was an exclamation of surprise at finding herself suddenly at home. 
Being asked her name, she ridiculed the idea of such a question being put 
in the presence of her family, but being pressed by her magnetiser to 
pronounce it, and promised not to be troubled with any further questions, 
she ingeniously said, and with somewhat of an arch look, that it began 
with the third letter in the alphabet. On being told that she had not 
given a direct reply, she rather pettishly answered, ' Well, then, it is Clara.' 
This was the fact. 

" Except in the precise order in which these cases occurred, I 
can vouch for their correctness, having been present when they 

" L. Lkwis." 

1 It is probably to be understood that the magnetiser assumed this part after his 
" subject " had assumed the other. 


The following instance, however, has more weight with us, who 
know the observer, and have had ample proof of his accuracy. Mr. G. 
A. Smith, of 2, Elms Road, Dulwich, (who has assisted us in most of 
our mesmeric work,) narrated the incident to us within two months 
of its occurrence ; and has now supplied a written account. 

(9) "One evening in September, 1882, at Brighton, I was trying some 
experiments with a Mrs. W., a 'subject' whom I had frequently hypnotised. 
I found that she could give surprisingly minute descriptions of spots which 
she knew — with details which her normal recollection could never have 
furnished. I did not for a moment regard these descriptions as implying 
anything more than intensified memory, but resolved to see what would 
happen when she was requested to examine a place where she had never 
heen to. I therefore requested her to look into the manager's room at 
the Aquarium, and to tell me all about it. Much to my surprise, she 
immediately began to describe the apartment with great exactness, and 
in perfect conformity with my own knowledge of it. I was fairly 
astonished ; but it occurred to me that although my subject's memory 
could not be at work, my own mind might be acting on hers. To 
test this, I imagined strongly that I saw a large open umbrella on 
the table, and in a minute or so the lady said, in great wonder : 
' Well ! how odd, there's a large open umbrella on the table,' and then 
began to laugh. It, therefore, seemed clear that her apparent know- 
ledge of the room had been derived somehow from my own mental picture 
of it ; but I may add I was never able to produce the same effect again." 

This may be fairly reckoned among transitional cases, inasmuch 
as the lady was quite unaware at the time that any person's influence 
was being brought to bear upon her. 

I 5. It will be seen that in both these last examples the agent 
and percipient were close together, and the latter was in the hypnotic 
state. And among transitional cases, we have absolutely no specimens 
of the deliberate transference of a perfectly unexciting idea — as of a 
card or a name — to a distant and normal percipient. This may 
appear an unfortunate lacuna in the transition that I am attempting 
to make ; but the fact itself can hardly surprise us. It must be 
remembered that in most of our experimental cases there was a true 
analogy to the passivity of hypnotism, in the adjustment of the 
percipient's mind, the sort of inward blankness and receptivity which 
he or she established by a deliberate effort ; that even where this 
was absent, the rapport involved in the mere sense of personal 
proximity to the agent probably went for something in the results ; 
and also that (with few exceptions) the sort of image to be expected 
was known — that the percipient realised whether it was a card, a 


name, or a taste. That an impression should flash across a mind in 
this state of preparation is clearly no guarantee that anything similar 
will occur when the percipient is occupied with wholly different 
things, while the agent is secretly concentrating his thoughts on a 
card or a taste in another place. And indeed the supposed conditions 
— a purely unemotional idea on the part of the would-be agent, and 
a state of complete unpreparedness on the part of the person whom 
it is attempted to influence — seem the most unfavourable possible : 
where the percipient mind is unprepared — that is, where the condition 
on one side is unfavourable — we should naturally expect that a 
stronger impulsive force must be supplied from the other side. But 
we have further to note that, even if the trial succeeded, the success 
would be hard to establish. For to the percipient the impression 
would only be a fleeting and uninteresting item in the swarm of faint 
ideas that pass every minute through the mind ; and as he is ex 
hypothesi ignorant that the trial is being made, there would be 
nothing to fix this particular faint item in his memory. It would 
come and go unmarked, like a thousand others. And this same 
possibility must be equally borne in mind in respect of sijontaneous 
telepathy. For though in most of the cases to be quoted in the 
sequel, a special impulsive force will be inferred from the fact that 
the agent was at the time in a state psychically or physically 
abnormal, we must not be too positive that the telepathic action is 
confined to the well-marked or ostensive instances on which the 
proof of it has to depend. The abnormality of the agent's state, 
though needed to make the coincidence striking enough to be 
included in this book, may not for all that be an indispensable con- 
dition ; genuine transferences of idea, of which we can take no 
account, may occur in the more ordinary conditions of life ; and the 
continuity of the experimental and the spontaneous cases may thus 
conceivably be complete. Meanwhile, however, a certain gap in the 
evidence has to be admitted ; and there is nothing for it but to pass 
on to the more extreme cases where the senses begin to be affected — 
the percipients having been for the most part in a normal state, and 
at various distances from the agents. 

§ 6. The sensory cases to be found in the Zoist are a trifle less 
fragmentary than some that I have quoted, but depend again on the 
uncorroborated statement of a single observer. Mr. H, S. Thompson 
(Vol. IV., p. 263) says :— 



(10) "I have tried an amusing experiment two or three times very 
successfully. I have taken a party (without informing them of my 
intentions) to witness some galvanic experiments, and whilst submitting 
myself to continued slight galvanic shocks, have fixed my attention on 
some one of the party. The first time I tried this I was much amused by 
the person soon exclaiming, 'Well, it is very strange, but I could fancy that 
I feel a sensation in my hands and arms as though I were subject to the 
action of the battery.' I found that out of seven persons, four experienced 
similar sensations more or less. None of them showed any symptom of 
being afiected before I directed my attention towards them. After that 
\sic\ they were made acquainted with the experiment, I found their 
imagination sometimes supplied the place of my will, and they fancied 
I was experimenting upon them when I was not so. This we so often 
see in other cases." 

Muscular and tactile hallucinations are, of course, eminently of a 
sort which may be produced by expectancy ; and all that can be said 
is that Mr. Thompson seems to have been alive to this danger. I 
may perhaps be allowed to state of this gentleman that, as far as we 
are aware, (and we have questioned both a near relative of his 
and a bitter detractor,) it was never alleged that he was an 
untrustworthy witness, or prone to exaggerate his powers. 

The impression in the next example seems to have been on the 
borderland between sensation and idea. It is given by the Rev. L. 
Lewis in the same paper as the account above quoted. His son had 
resolved to test the statement that in a mesmeric state a "subject" 
might, by the operator's unexpressed will, be impressed with delusions 
such as are usually only produced by direct suggestion. 

(11) " The girl [one whom he had often hypnotised] being gone into the 
sleep, the first thing that occurred to him was that she should imagine 
herself a camphine lamp, which was then burning on the table. He wrote 
down the words, which were not uttered by anyone, and were handed to 
the company. Then, without speaking, he strongly willed that she should 
be a lamp, making over her head the usual magnetic passes. E. C. was in 
a few minutes perfectly immovable, and not a word could be elicited from 
her. When she had continued in this strange state for some time, he 
dissipated the illusion by his will, without awaking her, when she 
immediately found her tongue again, and on being asked how she had felt 
when she would not speak, she replied, ' Yery hot, and full of naphtha.' " 

The next case (contained in a letter from Mr. H. S. Thompson, 
to Dr. Elliotson, Zoist, Vol. V., p. 257,) takes us a little further, for 
the agent and percipient were at a considerable distance from one 
another ; and though the experience was of a vague sort, very much 
more was produced than a mere idea — namely, a physical impression 
of the agent's presence, strong enough to be described as felt. 


(12) " I have tried several experiments on persons not in the mesmeric 
state, and some who had never been mesmerised. I have repeatedly found 
that I have been able, by will, to suggest a series of ideas to some persons, 
which ideas have induced corresponding actions ; and again, by fixing my 
attention upon others, and thinking on some particular subject, I have 
often found them able most accurately to penetrate my thoughts. Neither 
have 1 observed that it was always necessary to be near them, or to be in 
the same room with them, to produce these effects. . . . Some months 
ago I was staying at a friend's house, and this subject came under discus- 
sion. Two friends had left the house the day before.^ Neither of them, 
that I am aware of, had ever been in the mesmeric state ; but I knew 
that to some extent they had this faculty. I proposed to make trial 
■whether I could will tliem to think I was coming to see them at that 
moment. I accordingly fixed my attention upon them for some little time. 
Six weeks elapsed before I saw either of them again ; and when we met I 
had forgotten the circumstance, but one of them soon reminded me of it by 
saying, ' I have something curious to tell you, and want also to know 
whether you have ever tried to practise your power of volition upon either 
of us ; for on the evening of the day I left the house where you were 

staying, I was sitting reading a book in the same room with Mr. . 

My attention was withdrawn from my book, and for some moments I felt 
as though a third person was in the room, and that feeling shortly after 
became connected with an idea that you were coming or even then present. 
This seemed so very absurd that I tried to banish the idea from my mind. 

I then observed that Mr. 's attention was also drawn from the book 

which he was reading, and he exclaimed, ' It is positively very ridiculous, 
but I could have sworn some third person was in the room, and that 
impression is connected w^ith an idea of Henry Thompson.' " 

§ 7. But the most pronounced cases are of course those where 
an actual affection oi vision is produced. Here previous observations of 
an authentic sort almost wholly fail us.- I have no wish to extenuate 
the negative importance of this fact. At the same time, it must be 
remembered how very exceptional, probably, are the occasions on which 

1 It seems practically certain, from what follows, that by "the day before" Mr. 
Thompson meant " earlier in the day. " Otherwise the case would have had no relation 
to what he is sfjeaking of. 

- It is hardly necessary to say that we cannot reckon in this class hallucinations, even 
though dependent on the special influence of another person, where no definite exercise of 
will has been exerted by that person at the time. For instance, the following case of 
Mr. H. S. Tli<)in])son's may (in default of more precise detail) be ascribed to faith and 
imagination uu tlie ])art of'the " subject." 

"Mr. Harland's wife had been ill for three years, said to be heart-disease, with 
spasms of the heart, and neuralgic pains in head and spine. A few jiasses removed the 
pains, and in the course of a few days she gained so much strength that she walked round 
the garden, which she had not done for three years. In a few days she was able to walk 
to a friend's house two miles off ; she became very sensitive and slept well. I frequently 
put her to sleep at night, but when I did not go to her house I always used to will her to 
go to sleeji, and when I asked if she had had a good night, she used to say, ' I always 
have a good night when you mesmerise me,' and when I said, ' I was not here last night,' 
she answered, ' Oh, yes, but you were, I heard you come up stairs after I had gone to bed, 
and knock at my door. I said, " Come in," but you would not speak to me, and walked 
up to me, and held your hand over my head, saying, "Sleep,'' and I did sleep, and had a 
very good night ; you surely were in the house, for I saw you as plainly as I do now.' " 


the experiment has been attempted. When the two persons concerned 
in a " willing " experiment have been together, the object, as a rule, has 
been to produce the effect which shall present the most obvious test 
for spectators or for the agent himself — namely, motor effects. And 
when some one of the few persons who possess an appreciable degree 
of the abnormal power has attempted to exercise it at a distance, it is 
still the production of actions that he would most naturally aim at ; 
for it is in this direction that such a power has been popularly 
expected to show itself Thus it is reasonable to conclude that 
deliberate attempts to produce a visual hallucination in another 
person, by the exercise of the will, have been very few and far between. 
Still this is, of covirse, no complete explanation of the rarity of the 
phenomenon ; for no definable line separates the'se rare attempts from 
the ordinary experiments in thought-transference, when the agent 
concentrates his attention on a visible object. In those experiments 
there is, so to speak, an opportunity for a visual hallucination, if the 
agent is able to produce one. But the percipient has never (as far as 
I know) received more than a vivid idea, or at most a picture of 
the object in the mind's eye. And this fact sufficiently indicates that 
the more pronounced sensory result is one requiring most special 
conditions — one which would remain extremely rare however much it 
were sought for, and the proof of which will rightly be regarded with 
all the more jealous scrutiny. 

The previous records of the phenomenon to which I can point 
are really only four in number;^ and these are so far from conclusive, 
that they would hardly even be worth mentioning, if stronger 
examples could not be added from our own collection. The first case 
is thus meagrely described by Dr. Elliotson {Zoist, Vol. VIIL, p. 69) : — 

" I have a friend, who can, by his will, make certain patients think of 
any others he chooses, and fancy he sees those persons : he silently 
thinking of certain persons, the brain of the patient sympathises with his 
brain. Nay, by silently willing that these persons shall say and do certain 

1 We cannot, of course, recognise as even on the threshold of evidence the follo\\dng 
remote and third -hand case from A Treatise on the Seco7id-Sight, &c., by "Theophilus 
Insulanus " (Edinburgh, 1763), p. 40. But it is curious enough to be worth quoting, the 
imperfection of the alleged transference being very parallel to what has been akeady 
observed in some of our own experiments. 

" The said ensign [viz., Ensign Donald Macleod], a person of candour, who lived then 
at Laoran, informed me that, having gone with his wife to visit his father-in-law in the 
Isle of Skye, night coming on, they were obliged to put up with a cave on the side of 
Lough Urn, to pass the niglit ; and as they were at supper, his wife took a cabbock of 
cheese in her hand, and, having covered it with three or four apples, wished it in a seer's 
hand, who lived with her father, and who, that night, by her second-sight, saw the gentle- 
woman offering her a cabbock of cheese, but was at a loss to know what the round things 
were that covered it, as, perhaps, she had seen none of the kind in her lifetime, until her 
master's daughter, upon her arrival, told her the whole." 


things which he chooses, he makes the patients believe they see these 
imaginary appearances doing and uttering those very things." 

That a man of indisputable ability should have thought such 
a statement of such a fact adequate is truly extraordinary. The 
same may be said of the following sentence of Dr. Charpignon's 
Physiologic du Magnetisme, (Paris, 1848,) p. 325 : — 

" Nous avons maintes fois forme dans notre pens^e des images tictives, 
et les somnambules que nous questionnions voyaient ces images comme des 

Even if these descriptions be accurate in the main, we are unable 
to judge how far the vision was really externalised by the patients. 
In the next case this point is clear ; but the distinct assurance is 
still lacking that the agent was on his guard against the slightest 
approach to a suggestive movement. The incident is cited in the 
Annales Medico-Psychologiqiies, 6th series. Vol. V., p. 379, by Dr. 
Dagonet, doctor at the Saint Anne Asylum. 

" Un interne [house-physician] lui dit : ' Regardez done, Didier, voila 
une jolie femme.' II n'y avait personne. Didier reprit : ' Mais non, elle 
est laide,' et il ajoute : ' Qu'a-t-elle dans les bras'? ' Ces questions se rap- 
portaient exactement a ce que pensait son interlocuteur. A un certain 
moment Didier se precipita nieme pour empecher de tomber I'enfant qu'il 
croyait voir dans les bras de la femme imaginaire dont on lui parlait." 

This is a specimen of the stray indications of thought-transference 
that may be found even in strictly scientific literature ; but the 
significance of the phenomenon seems to have been altogether missed. 
It is described among a number of observations of an ordinary kind, 
made on an habitual somnambulist, and as though it were quite on a 
par with the rest. 

The next account, though, like Dr. Charpignon's, first-hand from 
the agent, is more remote, and equally uncorroborated. It is to be 
found in an article by Councillor H. M. Wesermann, in the Archiv 
fur den Thievisclien 3Iagnetisimvs, Vol. VI., pp. 136-9 ; and is 
dated Dlisseldorf, June loth, 1819. The first four items in the list 
are impressions alleged to have been made on a sleeping percipient 
but the fifth is a waking and completely externalised hallucination. 

" First Experiment at a Distance of Five Miles. — I endeavoured to 
acquaint my friend, the Hofkammerrath G. (whom I had not seen, with 
whom I had not spoken, and to whom I had not written, for thirteen 
years), with the fact of my intended visit, by presenting my form to him 
in his sleep, through the force of my will. When I unexpectedly went to 
him on the following evening, he evinced his astonishment at having seen 
me in a dream on the preceding night. 


"Second Experiment at a Distance of Three Miles. — Madame W., in 
her sleep, was to hear a conversation between me and two other persons, 
relating to a certain secret ; and when I visited her on the third day she 
told me all that had been said, and showed her astonishment at this 
remarkable dream. 

" Third Experiment at a Distance of One Mile. — An aged person in G. 
was to see in a dream the funeral procession of my deceased friend S., and 
when I visited her on the next day her first words were that she had in 
her sleep seen a funeral procession, and on inquiry had learned that I was 
the corpse. Here then was a slight error. 

"Fourth Experiment at a Distance of One- Eighth of a Mile. — Herr 
Doctor B. desired a trial to convince him, whereupon I represented to him 
a nocturnal street-brawl. He saw it in a dream, to his great astonishment. 
[This means, presumably, that he was astonished when he found that the 
actual subject of his dream was what Wesermann had been endeavouring 
to impress on him.] 

" Fifth Experiment at a Distance of Nine Miles.— The intention was that 
Lieutenant N. should see in a dream, at 11 o'clock p.m., a lady who had 
been five years dead, who was to incite him to a good action. Herr N., 
however, contrary to expectation, had not gone to sleep by 11 o'clock, but 
was conversing with his friend S. on the French campaign. Suddenly the 
door of the chamber opens ; the lady, dressed in white, with black kerchief 
and bare head, walks in, salutes S. thrice with her hand in a friendly way, 
turns to N., nods to him, and then returns through the door. Both 
follow quickly, and call the sentinel at the entrance ; but all had vanished, 
and nothing was to be found. Some months afterwards, Herr S. informed 
me by letter that the chamber door used to creak when opened, but did 
not do so when the lady opened it — whence it is to be inferred that 
the opening of the door was only a dream-picture, like all the rest of the 
apparition." ^ 

To such a record, if it stood alone, we should attach very little 
importance, in default of any evidence as to the intellectual and moral 
trustworthiness of Wesermann. There is, fortunately, no necessity 
for dwelling on these cases, as the possibility of the alleged 
phenomenon will certainly not be admitted except on the strength 
of contemporary and corroborated instances. 

I 8. In the examples that I am about to quote, one grave defect 
must at once be admitted. Though in all of them testimony is given 
by both agent and percipient, the agent in every case, and the 
percipient in one, withhold their names from publication. We, of 
course, regret this restriction exceedingly ; but it can hardly be 
deemed unnatural or unreasonable. It must be remembered that 

1 Other cases of the hallucination of a door opening or shutting are Nos. 15, 30, 190, 
198, 495, 530, 537, 591, 659, 070, 670, 696, 698. In Nasse's Zcitschrift fur Psi/chischc Acrtzc 
(Leipzig) for 1820, Part IV., pp. 757-67, Wesermann again describes the first and fifth 
of these experiments, and states that the trials were made in the autumn of ISOS. 


these cases of apparitions intentionally produced stand in a most 
peculiar position, as compared even with the other remarkable 
incidents with which we are concerned in the present work. In 
the case of the more normal telepathic phantasm, neither party is 
in the least responsible for what occurs. A dies or breaks his leg ; 
B thinks that he sees A's form or hears his voice : neither can help 
it ; if their experiences coincide, that is not their business ; perhaps 
it is a chance. But in the present class of cases, the agent determines 
to do something that to most of his educated fellow-creatures will 
appear a miracle ; and however little he himself may share that view, 
he may still have good grounds for shrinking from the reputation 
either of a miracle-worker or of a miracle-monger. The percipient's 
position is somewhat different ; but modern miracles are by no means 
tempting things to get publicly mixed up with, even for a person 
whose share in them has been passive. And the extreme rarity of 
the phenomenon is another daunting fact. For a single specimen of 
this deliberate type of phantasm, we have a hundred specimens of the 
wholly spontaneous type : and the witness who is willing to give his 
name for publication, where he is assured that he will find himself 
in numerous and respectable company, may fairly hesitate when 
aware that the incident he records is almost unexampled. 

However, it may be hoped that this difficulty, like others, will 
gradually be removed by a modification of public opinion on the 
whole subject. Meanwhile, I can but give the evidence under the 
conditions imposed. In the first case, the agent is slightly known to 
us. The percipient is our friend, the Rev. W. Stainton Moses, who 
believes that he has kept a written memorandum of the incident, but 
has been prevented by a long illness, and by pressure of work, from 
hunting for it among a large mass of stored-away papers. The 
agent's account was written in February, 1879, and includes a few 
purely verbal alterations made in 1883, when Mr. Moses pronounced 
it correct. 

(13) "One evening early last year, I resolved to try to appear to Z, at 
some miles distance. I did not inform him beforehand of the intended 
experiment ; but retired to rest shortly before midnight with thouglits 
intently hxed on Z, with whose room and surroundings, however, 
I was quite unacquainted. 1 soon fell asleep, and awoke next 
morning unconscious of anything Iiaving taken place. On seeing Z a 
few days afterwards, I inquired, ' Did anything happen at your rooms on 
Saturday night ? ' ' Yes,' i-eplied he, ' a great deal happened. 1 had 
been sitting over the fire with M, smoking and chatting. About 12.30 he 
rose to leave, and I let him out myself. I returned to the tire to finish 


my pipe, when I saw you sitting in the chair just vacated by him. I looked 
intently at you, and then took up a newspaper to assure myself I was not 
dreaming, but on laying it down I saw you still there. While I gazed 
without speaking, you faded away. Though I imagined you must be fast 
asleep in bed at that hour, yet you appeared dressed in your ordinary 
garments, such as you usually wear every day.' ' Then my experiment 
seems to have succeeded,' said I. ' The next time I come, ask me 
what I want, as I had fixed on my mind certain questions I intended to 
ask you, but I was probably waiting for an invitation to speak.' 

" A few weeks later the experiment was repeated with equal success, 
I, as before, not informing Z when it was made. On this occasion he 
not only questioned me on the subject which was at that time under very 
warm discussion between us, but detained me by the exercise of his 
will some time after I had intimated a desire to leave. ^ This 
fact, when it came to be communicated to me, seemed to account 
for the violent and somewhat peculiar headache which marked the morn- 
ing following the experiment ; at least I remarked at the time that there 
was no apparent cause for the unusual headache ; and, as on the former 
occasion, no recollection remained of the event, or seeming event, of the 
preceding night." 

Mr. Moses writes :— u 21^ Birchington Road, N.W. 

"September 27th, 1885. 
" This account is, as far as my memory serves, exact ; and, without 
notes before me, I cannot supplement it. " W. Stainton Moses." 

Mr. Moses tells us that he has never on any other occasion seen the 
figure of a living person in a place where it was not. 

The next case, otherwise similar, was more remarkable in that 
there were two percipients. The narrative has been copied by the 
present writer from a MS. book of Mr. S. H. B.'s, to which he trans- 
ferred it from an almanack diary, since lost. 

(14) "On a certain Sunday evening in November, 1881, having been 
reading of the great power which the human will is capable of 
exercising, I determined with the whole force of my being that I would 
be present in spirit in the front bedroom on the second floor of a house 
situated at 22, Hogarth Road, Kensington, in which room slept two 
ladies of my acquaintance, viz.. Miss L. S. V. and Miss E. C. V., aged 
respectively 25 and 11 years. I was living at this time at 23, Kildare 
Gardens, a distance of about 3 miles from Hogarth Road, and I had not 
mentioned in any way my intention of trying this experiment to either of 
the above ladies, for the simple reason that it was only on retiring to rest 
upon this Sunday night that I made up my mind to do so. The time at 
which I determined I would be there was 1 o'clock in the morning, and I 
also had a strong intention of making my presence perceptible. 

1 As regards the interchange of remarks with a hallucinatory figure, see below, p. 476, 
and Vol. ii., p. 460. But it is possible, of course, that this detail as to the prolonging of 
the interview has become magnified in memory ; or that the second vision partook more 
of the nature of a dream than the first. 


" On the following Thursday I went to see the ladies in question, and, 
in the course of conversation (without any allusion to the subject on my 
part), the elder one told nie, that, on the previous Sunday night, she had 
been much terrified by perceiving me standing by her bedside, and that 
she screamed when the apparition advanced towards her, and awoke her 
little sister, who saw me also. 

" I asked her if she was awake at the time, and she replied most 
decidedly in the affirmative, and upon my inquiring the time of the 
occurrence, she replied, about 1 o'clock in the morning. 

" This lady, at my request, wrote down a statement of the event and 
signed it. 

" This was the first occasion upon which I tried an experiment of this 
kind, and its complete success startled me very much. 

" Besides exercising my power of volition very strongly, I put forth 
an effort which I cannot find words to describe. I was conscious of a 
mysterious influence of some sort permeating in my body, and had a 
distinct impression that I was exercising some force with which I had 
been hitherto unacquainted, but which I can now at certain times set in 
motion at will. " S. H. B. 

[Of the original entry in the almanack diary, Mr. B. says : " I recollect 
having made it within a week or so of the occurrence of the experiment, 
and whilst it was perfectly fresh in my memory."] 

Miss Verity's account is as follows : — 

"January 18th, 1883. 

" On a certain Sunday evening, about twelve months since, at our house 
in Hogarth Road, Kensington, I distinctly saw Mr. B. in my room, about 
1 o'clock. 1 was perfectly awake and was much terrified. I awoke my 
sister by screaming, and she saw the apparition herself. Three days after, 
when I saw Mr. B., I told him what had happened ; but it was some time 
before I could recover from the shock I had received, and the remembrance 
is too vivid to be ever erased from my memory. 

" L. S. Verity." 

In answer to inquiries, Miss Verity adds : — 

" I had never had any hallucination of the senses of any sort what- 

Miss E. C. Verity says : — 

" I remember the occurrence of the event described by my sister in the 
annexed paragraph, and her description is quite correct. I saw the 
apparition which she saw, at the same time and under the same 

" E. C. Verity." 

Miss A. S. Verity says : — 

" I remember quite clearly the evening my eldest sister awoke me by 
calling to me from an adjoining room ; and upon my going to her bedside, 
where she slept with my youngest sister, they both told me they had seen 
S. H. B. standing in the room. The time was about 1 o'clock. S. H. B. 
was in evening dress, they told me.^ " A. S. Verity 

,. » 

1 Mr. B. does not remember how he was dressed on the night of the occurrence. 


[Miss E. C. Verity was asleep when her sister caught sight of the 
figure, and was awoke by her sister's exclaiming," There is S." The name 
had therefore met her ear before she herself saw the figure ; and the 
hallucination on her part might thus be attributed to suggestion. But it is 
against this view that she has never had any other hallucination, and cannot 
therefore be considered as predisposed to such experiences. The sisters are 
both equally certain that the figure was in evening dress, and that it stood 
in one particular spot in the room. The gas was burning low, and the 
phantasmal figure was seen with far more clearness than a real figure 
would have been. 

The witnesses have been very carefully cross-examined by the present 
writer. There is not the slightest doubt that their mention of the occurrence 
to S. H. B. was spontaneous. They had not at first intended to mention 
it ; but when they saw him, their sense of its oddness overcame their 
resolution. I have already said that I regard Miss Verity as a careful 
and conscientious witness ; I may add that she has no love of marvels, 
and has a considerable dread and dislike of this particular form of marvel.] 

The next case of Mr. S. H. B.'s is different in this respect, that the 
percipient was not consciously present to the agent's mind on the 
night that he made his attempt. The account is copied from the 
MS. book mentioned above. 

(15) " On Friday, December 1st, 1882, at 9.30 p.m., I went into a room 
alone and sat by the fireside, and endeavoured so strongly to fix my mind 
upon the interior of a house at Kew (viz., Clarence Road), in which 
resided Miss V. and her two sisters, that I seemed to be actually in the 
house. During this experiment I must have fallen into a mesmeric sleep, 
for although I was conscious I could not move my limbs. I did not seem 
to have lost the power of moving them, but I could not make the effort to 
do so, and my hands, which lay loosely on my knees, about 6 inches apart, 
felt involuntarily drawn together and seemed to meet, although I was 
conscious that they did not move. 

"At 10 p.m. I regained my normal state by an effort of the mil, and 
then took a pencil and wrote down on a sheet of note-paper the foregoing 

" When I went to bed on this same night, I determined that I would 
be in the front bedroom of the above-mentioned house at 12 p.m., and 
remain there until I had made my spiritual presence perceptible to the 
inmates of that room. 

" On the next day, Saturday, I went to Kew to spend the evening, 
and met there a married sister of Miss V. (viz., Mrs. L.) This lady I had 
only met once before, and then it was at a ball two years previous to the 
above date. We were both in fancy dress at the time, and as we did not 
exchange more than half-a-dozen words, this lady would naturally have 
lost any vivid recollection of my appearance, even if she had remarked it. 

" In the course of conversation (although I did not think for a 
moment of asking her any questions on such a subject), she told me that 
on the previous night she had seen me distinctly upon two occasions. She 


had spent the night at Clarence Road, and had slept in the front 
bedroom. At about half-past 9 she had seen me in the passage, going 
from one room to another, and at 12 p.m., when she was wide awake, she 
had seen me enter the bedroom and walk round to where she was sleeping, 
and take her hair (which is very long) into my hand. She also told me 
that the apparition took hold of her hand and gazed intently into it, 
whereupon she spoke, saying, ' You need not look at the lines, for I have 
never had any trouble.' She then awoke her sister. Miss V., who was 
sleeping with her, and told her about it. After hearing this account, I 
took the statement which I had written down on the previous evening, 
from my pocket, and showed it to some of the persons present, who were 
much astonished although incredulous. 

" I asked Mrs. L. if she was not dreaming at the time of the latter 
experience, but this she stoutly denied, and stated that she had forgotten 
what I was like, but seeing me so distinctly she recognised me at once. 

" Mrs. L. is a lady of highly imaginative temperament, and told me that 
she had been subject, since childhood, to psychological fancies,^ &c., but 
the wonderful coincidence of the time (which was exact) convinced me 
that what she told me was more than a flight of the imagination. At 
my request she wrote a brief account of her impressions and signed it. 

"S. H. B." 

[Mr. B. was at Southall when he made this trial. He tells me that 
the above account was written down about ten days after the experiment, 
and that it embodies the entry made in his rough diary on the night of 
the trial.] 

The following is the lady's statement, which was forwarded to Mr. B., 
he tells us, " within a few weeks of the occurrence." 

" 8, Wordsworth Road, Harrow. 

"On Friday, December 1st, 1882, I was on a visit to my sister, 
21, Clarence Road, Kew, and about 9.30 p.m. I was going from my bedroom 
to get some water from the bathroom, when I distinctly saw Mr. S. B., whom 
I had only seen once before, about two years ago, walk before me past the 
bathroom, towards the bedroom at the end of the landing. About 11 
o'clock we retired for the night, and about 12 o'clock I was still awake, 
and the door opened- and Mr. S. B. came into the room and walked round 
to the bedside, and there stood with one foot on the ground and the 
other knee resting on a chair. He then took my hair into his hand, 
after which he took my hand in his, and looked very intently into 
the palm. ' Ah,' I said (speaking to him), ' you need not look at the 
lines, for I never had any trouble.' I then awoke my sister ; I was not 
nervous, but excited, and began to fear some serious illness would 
befall her, she being delicate at the time, but she is progressing more 
favourably now. 

" H. L." [Full name signed.] 

1 Asked to explain this phrase, Mr. B. says : " I have never heard of ^Mrs. L. having 
had any haUuchidtion.s. The fancies I alluded to were simply a few phenomena accounted 
for on the ground of ' telepathic ' rapport between herself and Mr. L., such as having a 
distinct imin'ession that he was coming home unexpectedly (whilst absent in the North of 
England), and finding on several occasions that the impressions were quite correct." 

- See p. 102, note. 


Miss Verity corroborates as follows : — 

" I can remember quite well Mrs. L.'s mentioning her two visions — one 
at 9.30 and one at 12 — at the time, and before S. H. B. came. When 
he came, my sister told him, and immediately he took a card (or paper, I 
forget which) out of his pocket, containing an account of the previous 
evening. I consider this testimony quite as good as if Mrs. L. were 
giving it, because I can recall so tvell these two days. 

" My sister has told me that she never experienced any hallucination 
of the senses except on this occasion. u j^ g_ Verity." 

The present writer requested Mr. B. to send him a note on the 
night that he intended to make his next experiment of the kind, 
and received the following note by the first post on Monday, 

xMarch 24th, 1884. 

"March 22nd, 1884. 
(16) " Dear Mr. Gurney, — I am going to try the experiment to-night 
of making my presence perceptible at 44, Norland Square, at 12 p.m. I 
will let you know the result in a few days. — Yours very sincerely, 

" S. H. B." 

The next letter was received in the course of the following week : — 

" April 3rd, 1884. 

" Dear Mr. Gurney, — I have a strange statement to show you, re- 
specting my experiment, which was tried at your suggestion, and under 
the test conditions which you imposed. 

" Having quite forgotten which night it was on which I attempted the 
projection, I cannot say whether the result is a brilliant success, or only a 
slight one, until I see the letter which I posted you on the evening of the 

" Having sent you that letter, I did not deem it necessary to make a 
note in my diary, and consequently have let the exact date slip my 

" If the dates correspond, the success is complete in every detail, and 
I have an account signed and witnessed to show you. 

" I saw the lady (who was the subject) for the first time last night, 
since the experiment, and she made a voluntary statement to me, which 
I wrote down at her dictation, and to which she has attached her sig- 
nature. The date and time of the apparition are specified in this statement, 
and it will be for you to decide whether they are identical with those 
given in my letter to you. I have completely forgotten, but yet I fancy 
that they are the same. u g jj g " 

This is the statement : — 

" 44, Norland Square, W. 

"On Saturday night, March 22nd, 1884, at about midnight, I had a 
distinct impression that Mr. S. H. B. was present in my room, and I 
distinctly saw him whilst I was quite widely awake. He came towards 
me, and stroked my hair. I voluntarily gave him this information, when 
he called to see me on Wednesday, April 2nd, telling him the time and 


the circumstances of the apparition, without any suggestion on his part. 
The appearance in my room was most vivid, and quite unmistakeable. 

"L. S. Verity." 

Miss A. S. Verity corroborates as follows : — 

" I remember my sister telling me .that she had seen S. H. B., and 
that he had touched her hair, befo7-e he came to see us on April 2nd. 

"A. S. V." 

Mr. B.'s own account is as follows : — - 

" On Saturday, March 22nd, I determined to make my presence percep- 
tible to Miss v., at 44, Norland Square, Notting Hill, at 12 midnight, 
and as I had previously arranged with Mr. Gurney that I should post him 
a letter on the evening on which I tried my next experiment (stating the 
time and other particulars), I sent a note to acquaint him with the above 

" About ten days afterwards I called upon Miss V., and she voluntarily 
told me, that on March 22nd, at 12 o'clock midnight, she had seen me so 
\'ividly in her room (whilst widely awake) that her nerves had been much 
shaken, and she had been obliged to send for a doctor in the morning. 

"S. H. B." 

[Unfortunately Mr. B.'s intention to produce the impression of touch- 
ing the percipient's hair is not included in his written account. On 
August 21st, 1885, he wrote to me, "1 remember that I had this intention;" 
and I myself remember that, very soon after the occui'rence, he mentioned 
this as one of the points which made the success " complete in every 
detail " ; and that I recommended hun in any future trial to endeavour 
instead to produce the impression of some spoken phrase.] 

It will be observed that in all these instances the conditions were 
the same — the agent concentrating his thoughts on the object in view 
before going to sleep. Mr. B. has never succeeded in producing a 
similar effect when he has been awake. And this restriction as to 
time has made it difficult to devise a plan by which the phenomenon 
could be tested by independent observers, one of whom might arrange 
to be in the company of the agent at a given time, and the other in 
that of the percipient. Nor is it easy to press for repetitions of the 
experiment, which is not an agreeable one to the percipient, and is 
followed by a considerable amount of nervous prostration. Moreover, 
if trials were frequently made with the same percipient, the value of 
success would diminish ; for any latent expectation on the percipient's 
part might be argued to be itself productive of the delusion, and the 
coincidence with the agent's resolve might be explained as accidental. 
We have, of course, requested Mr. B. to try to produce the effect on 
ourselves ; but though he has more than once made the attempt, it 
has not succeeded. We can therefore only wait, in the hope that 
time will bring fresh opportunities, and that other persons may be 


induced to make the trial.^ I am strongly sensible of the natural 
repulsion which descriptions of such isolated marvels are likely to 
produce in most educated minds, and the more so when the details are 
of a slightly ludicrous kind. But the evidence to the facts is of such 
a quality that it could not have been suppressed without doing grave 
injustice to the case for telepathy.'^ 

§ 9. But even a reader who can sufficiently rely on our knowledge 
of the witnesses to feel that the evidence is important, may find an 
objection of another kind. He may question our right to make 
any theoretic connection between the experimental results before 
discussed and these last-described cases. I have called the phe- 
nomena of the present chapter transitional, and have pointed out 
the way in which they form a bridge from the experimental thought- 
transference of the last chapter to the spontaneous telepathy that 
will occupy us for the future. But it may seem that the line of 
connection is after all only an external one ; and that there is a deep 
essential difference— a gulf which cannot be thus lightly crossed — 
between the more ordinary facts of thought-transference and these 
apparitions of the agent. It is not only that in the latter the 
percipient's impression has been of an external object — of something 
not merely flashed on the mind, but independently located in space : 

1 Since this was written two further cases have been received— Nos. 685 and 686 in 
the Additional Chapter at the end of Vol. ii. , • ., j- .. i.- 

- It is of course, of prime importance m cases of this sort to obtam the direct testimony 
of both the parties concerned. Partly for the lack of this, and partly because the percipient 
had received an intimation (though a considerable time before) that the experiment was 
some day to be tried, I do not lay stress on the following example. At the same time it 
is worth quoting, as I believe the narrator (who is personally known to me) to be a careful, 
as he is certainly an honest, witness. Mr. John Moule, of Codicote, Welwyn, Herts, 
after describing how, as a young man, he had considerable success as a mesmerist, adds :— 

"In the year 1855, I felt very anxious to try and affect the most sensitive of my 
mesmeric subjects away from my house, and unknown to them. I chose for this purpose 
a young lady, a Miss Drasey, and stated that some day I intended to visit her wherever 
she might be' although the place might be unknown to me ; and told her, if anything 
particular should occur, to note the time, and when she called at my house again, to state 
if anything had occurred. One day about two months after (I not having seen her m the 
interval) I was by myself in my chemical factory, Redman's Row, Mile End, London, all 
alone, and I determined to try the experiment, the lady being in Dalston, about three 
miles off. I stood up, raised my hands, and willed to act upon the lady. I soon felt that 
I had expended energy. I immediately sat down in a chair, and went to sleep. I then saw 
in a dream my friend coming down the kitchen stairs, where I dreamt I was. She saw 
me and suddenly exclaimed, ' Oh ! Mr. Moule,' and fainted away. This I dreamt, and 
then awoke. I thought very little about it, supposing I had had an ordinary dream ; but 
about three weeks after she came to my house, and related to my wife the singular occur- 
rence of her seeing me sitting in the kitchen, where she then was, and that she fainted 
away and nearly dropped some dishes she had in her hands. All this I saw exactly in 
my dream so that T described the kitchen furniture, and where I sat, as perfectly as if I 
had been t'here, though I had never been in the house. I gave many details, and she said, 
' It is just as if you had been there.' After this, she made me promise that I would never 
do it again as she would never feel happy with the idea of me appearing to her. Some 
time after this, she left this country for Australia, and died a few years afterwards. 

If this record is accurate, the case differs from those given in the text, inasmuch as 
the effect was reciprocal, the agent himself being telepathically impressed. Cf. case 685. 


that might be a mere question of degree. The more radical 
difference is this — that what the one party perceived was not that 
on which the mind of the other party had been concentrated. In 
a " thovight-transference " experiment of the normal type, the per- 
cipient's image or idea of a card or diagram is due (as we hold) to 
the fact that the agent has been directing his attention to that very 
image or idea. But in the case of these will-produced phantasms, 
the agent has not been picturing his own visible aspect. So far as 
he has been thinking of himself at all, it has been not of his aspect 
particularly, but of his personality, and of his personality in relation 
to the percipient. It is thus probable that the 'percipient's aspect 
has formed a larger part of the agent's whole idea than his own ; yet 
it is his aspect, and nothing else, that is telepathically perceived. 
And a similar departure from the normal experimental type will 
meet us again in the large majority of the spontaneous telepathic 
cases. In some of these, the content of the agent's mind, at the time 
when the percipient received some sensory impression of him, has 
been a forcible idea of the percipient, and of himself in relation to 
the percipient ; in others, we shall find that even this bond was lacking, 
and that the percipient's impression cannot be even loosely identified 
with any part of the conscious contents of the agent's mind. 

These facts have, no doubt, a very real theoretic importance : they 
reveal a certain incompleteness in the transition which I have been 
endeavouring to make. As long as the impression in the percipient's 
mind is merely a reproduction of that in the agent's mind, it is 
possible to conceive some sort of physical basis for the fact of the 
transference. The familiar phenomena of the transmission and 
reception of vibratory energy are ready to hand as analogies — the 
effect, for instance, of a swinging pendulum on another of equal 
length attached to the same solid support ; or of one tuning-fork 
or string on another of the same pitch ; or of glowing particles 
of a gas on cool molecules of the same substance. Still more 
tempting are the analogies of magnetic and electrical induc- 
tion. A permanent magnet brought into a room will throw 
any surrounding iron into a similar condition ; an electric current 
in one coil of wire will induce a current in a neighbouring 
coil ; though here even the medium of communication is un- 
known. So it is possible to conceive that vibration-waves, or 
nervous induction, are a means whereby activity in one brain may 
evoke a kindred activity in another — with, of course, a similar 


correspondence of psychical impressions. Even here, perhaps, the 
conception should rather be regarded as a metaphor than an 
analogy. We have only to remember that the effect of all the 
known physical forces diminishes with distance — whereas we shall 
find reason to think that, under appropriate conditions, an idea 
may be telepathically reproduced on the other side of the world 
as easily as on the other side of a room. The employment, therefore, 
of words like force, irtipulse, itn-jmct, in speaking of telepathic 
influences, must not be held to imply the faintest suspicion 
of what the force is, or any hypothesis whatever which would 
co-ordinate it with the recognised forces of the material world. 
Not only, as with other delicate phenomena of life and thought, is the 
subjective side of the problem the only one that we can yet attempt 
to analyse : we do not even know where to look for the objective side. 
If there really is a physical counterpart to the fact of transmission — 
over and above the movements in the two brains which are the 
termini of the transmission — that counterpart remains wholly 
unknown to us. 

But a much more serious difficulty in the way of any physical 
conception of telepathy presents itself as soon as we pass to the cases 
where the image actually present in the agent's mind is no longer 
reproduced in the percipient's. A is dying at a distance ; B sees his 
form. We may perhaps trace a relation between the processes in 
their two minds ; but it certainly does not amount to anything like 
identity or distinct parallelism. That being so, there can be no such 
simple and immediate concordance as we have supposed, between the 
nervous vibrations of their two brains ; and that being so, there is no 
obvious means of translating into physical terms the causal connection 
between their experiences. This difficulty will take a somewhat 
different aspect when we come later to consider the part which the 
mind's unconscious operations may bear in telepathic phenomena. 
We may see grounds for thinking that a considerable community of 
experience (especially in emotional relations) between two persons may 
involve nervous records sufficiently similar to retain for one another 
some sort of revivable affinity, even when the experience has long lost 
its vividness for conscious memory. Meanwhile it is best to admit 
the difficulty without reserve, and to state in the most explicit way 
that in the rapprochement between experimental thought-transference 
and spontaneous telepathic impressions we are confining ourselves to 
the psychical aspect ; we connect the phenomena as being in all cases 


affections of one mind by another, occurring otherwise than through 
the recognised channels of sense. The objector may urge that if we 
have not, we ought to have, a physical theory which will embrace all 
the phenomena — that we ought not to talk about a ra'p'port between 
A's mind and B's unless we can establish a bridge between their two 
brains. This seems rather to assume that the standing puzzle of the 
relation between cerebral and psychical events in the individual, B, 
can only be stated in one crude form — viz., that the former are prior 
and produce the latter ; and though for ordinary purposes such an 
expression is convenient, the convenience has its dangers. Still, 
as the converse proposition — that the psychical events are the 
prior — would be equally dangerous, a crux remains which we 
cannot evade. Since we cannot doubt that B's unwonted experience 
has its appropriate cerebral correlate, we have to admit that 
the energy of B's brain is directed in a way in which it would not 
be directed but for something that has happened to A. In this 
physical effect it is impossible to assume that an external physical 
antecedent is not involved ; and the relation of the antecedent to the 
effect is, as I have pointed out, hard to conceive, when the neural 
tremors in A's brain are so unlike the neural tremors in B's brain as 
they must presumably be when A's mind is occupied vdth. his 
immediate surroundings, or with the idea of death, and B's mind is 
occupied with a sudden and unaccountable impression or vision of A. 
But however things may be on the physical plane, the facts 
recorded in this book are purely psychical facts; and on the psychical 
plane it is possible to give to a heterogeneous array of them a certain 
orderly coherence, and to present them as a graduated series of natural 
phenomena. Can it be asserted that this treatment is illegitimate 
unless a concurrent physical theory can also be put forward ? It is 
surely allowable to do one thing at a time. There is an unsolved 
mystery in the background ; that we grant and remember ; but it need 
not perpetually oppress us. After all, is there not that standing 
mystery of the cerebral and mental correlation in the individual — a 
mystery equally unsolved and perhaps more definitely and radically 
insoluble — at the background of every fact and doctrine of the 
recognised psychology ? The psychologists work on as if it did not 
exist, or rather as if it were the most natural and intelligible thing in 
the world, and no one complains of them. All that we claim is a 
similar freedom. 




§ 1. We have now to quit the experimental branch of our subject. 
We have been engaged, so far, with cases of thought-transference 
deliberately sought for and observed within the four walls of a room, 
both the agent and the percipient being aware of the object in view • 
and with the further cases where — though the distance between the 
agent and the percipient was often greater, and the latter had no 
intimation oi what was intended — there was still a deliberate desire 
on the agent's part to exert a telepathic influence, and a concentration 
of his mind on that object. For the remainder of our course we shall 
be entirely occupied with cases where no such desire or idea existed 
— where the effect produced on the percipient, though we may connect 
it' with the state of the agent, was certainly not an effect which he wai? 
aiming at producing. And this change in the character of the facts 
is accompanied by a marked change in the character of the evidence 
— a change for which some of the transitional cases in the last chapter 
have already prepared us. Our conclusions will now have to be drawn 
from the records of persons who, at the time when the phenomena 
which they describe took place, were quite unaware that these would 
fever be used as evidence for telepathy or anything else. Nor have 
my colleagues and I any observations of our own to compare with 
what our witnesses tell us ; the facts are known to us only through 
the medium of their report, and we shall have to decide how far the 
medium may be a distorting one. Our method of inquiry will thus be 
the historical method ; and success will depend upon the exercise of a 
wider and less specialised form of common-sense than was required in 
the experimental work. A great many more points have to be taken 
into account in weighing human testimony than in arranging the 
conditions of a crucial trial of thought-transference. There, one 
precise and simple form of danger had to be guarded against — the 


possibility of conscious or unconscious physical signs : hero, dangers 
multiform and indeterminate will have to be allowed for. We shall 
be brought face to face with questions of character, of the general 
behaviour of human beings in various circumstances, and of the 
unconscious workings of the human mind ; and a quite different sort 
of logic must come into play, involving often a very complex 
estimate of probabilities. 

So all-important is it for our purpose to form a correct judgment 
as to the possible sources of error in this new department of evidence, 
that I have thought it best to devote the present chapter entirely to 
that subject. 

§ 2. First, then, to face the most general objection of all. This may 
perhaps be stated as follows. All manner of false beliefs have in their 
day been able to muster a considerable amount of evidence in their 
support, much of which was certainly not consciously fraudulent. 
The form of superstition varies with the religious and educational 
conditions of the time ; but within certain limits a diligent collector 
will be able to obtain evidence for pretty well anything that he 
chooses. There is, of course, a line — and every age will have its own 
line — beyond which it would be impossible for anyone who wished to 
be thought sane and educated to go; for instance, it would be impossible 
in the presents day to obtain anything like respectable contemporary 
testimony for the transformation of old women into hares and cats. 
But short of this line there is always a range of ideas and beliefs as to 
which opinion is divided — which it is perfectly allowable to repudiate, 
and which science may treat with scorn, but which it is not a sign of 
abnormal ignorance or stupidity to entertain. And within this range 
evidence, and even educated evidence, for the beliefs will pretty 
certainly be forthcoming. For however much advancing knowledge 
may have limited the field of superstition, the fund of possibilities in 
the way of mal-observation, misinterpretation, and exaggeration of 
facts is still practically inexhaustible ; and with such a fund to draw 
on, the belief, or the mere desire or tendency to believe, in any 
particular order of phenomena is sure, now and again, to lighten facts 
which can be made to yield the semblance of a proof 

Now, though it is difficult to deny the force of this argument when 
stated in general terms, I think that it can be shown not seriously 
to invalidate the evidence which is here relied on as proof of the 
reality of spontaneous telepathy. For the sake of comparison, it will 


be worth while to glance at the most striking example that modern 
times supply of the support of false beliefs by a large array of 
contemporary evidence — the case of witchcraft. 

We may begin by excluding the enormous amount of the witch- 
evidence which consisted in confessions extracted by torture, terror, or 
false promises — " the casting evidence in most tryals," as Hutchinson 
says ; and also the large class of cases where the actual facts attested 
would not be disputed ; — as where a woman was condemned because 
a child who had been with her hung its head on its return home, and 
rolled over in its cradle in the evening ; or because a good many 
people or cattle had fallen sick in her village ; or because she kept a 
tame frog, presumed to be her " imp " ; or because on the very day 
that she had scolded a carter whose cart knocked up against her 
house, the self-same cart stuck in a gate, and the men who should 
have emptied it at night felt too tired to do so.^ Putting these cases 
aside as irrelevant, anyone who looks carefully into the remaining 
records will find (1) that the actual testimony on which the alleged 
facts were believed came exclusively from the uneducated classes ; 
and (2) that the easy acceptance of this evidence by better educatiid 
persons was due to the ignorance which was at that time all but 
universal respecting several great departments of natural phenomttna 
— those of hallucination, trance, hysteria, and mesmerism. This 
ignorance took effect in the following way — that every piece of evidence 
to marvellous facts was perforce regarded as presenting one simple 
alternative : — either the facts happened as alleged ; or the witnesses 
must be practising deliberate fraud. The latter hypothesis was, of 
course, an easy one enough to make in respect of this or that 
individual case, and was supported by indisputable examples ; but it 
could not long be applied in any wholesale manner. The previous 
character of many of the persons involved, the aimlessness of such a 
fraud, the vast scale of the conspiracy which would have had to be 
organised in order to impose it on the world, and above all the fact 
that many of the witnesses brought on themselves nothing but oppro- 
brium and persecution by their statements, made it practically impos- 
sible to doubt that the testimony was on the whole honestly given. 
Fraud, then, being excluded, there remained nothing but to believe 

1 Lilienthal, Die ffexenproccsse der hciden Stiidte Brnn. iisJjn-n (Konig-sberg,lSGl),p. 152 j 
A Detection of Chelmsford Witches (London, 1579) ; Malltu^ Mnhjicaruni (Lyons, 1G20), 
Vol. i., p. 242; Miiller, Beitriide zur Gcschichte des Hc.ccn<jlauhens (Bninswick, 1854), 
p. 35, &c. ; Ady, Candle in the Dark (London, 1656), p. 135 ; Hutchinson, Historical Essay 
Concerning Witchcraft (London, 1720), p. 147. 


the facts genuine. Sane men and women spoke with obvious sincerity 
of what they had seen with their own eyes ; how could such a proof 
be gainsaid ? This is a point which Glauvil and other writers of the 
witch-epoch are for ever urging ; if we reject these facts, they argue, 
we must reject all beliefs that have their basis in human testimony. 

Happily we have now a totally different means of escaping from 
the dilemma. We know now that subjective hallucinations may 
possess the very fullest sensory character, and may be as real to the 
percipient as any object he ever beheld. I have myself heard an 
epileptic subject, who was perfectly sane and rational in his general 
conduct, describe a series of interviews that he had had with the devil, 
with a precision, and an absolute belief in the evidence of his 
senses, equal to anything that I ever read in the records of the 
mtches' compacts. And further, we know now that there is a condi- 
tion, capable often of being induced in uneducated and simple persons 
with extreme ease, in which any idea that is suggested may at once 
take sensory form, and be projected as an actual hallucination. To 
those who have seen robust young men, in an early stage of hypnotic 
trance, staring with horror at a figure which appears to them to be 
walking on the ceiling, or giving way to strange convulsions under the 
impression that they have been changed into birds or snakes, there will 
be nothing very surprising in the belief of hysterical girls that they 
were possessed by some alien influence, or that their distant perse- 
cutor was actually present to their senses. It is true that in 
hypnotic experiments there is commonly some preliminary process 
by which the peculiar condition is induced, and that the idea which 
originates the delusion has then to be suggested ah extra. But with 
sensitive "subjects" who have been mvich under any particular 
influence, a mere word will produce the effect ; nor is there any feature 
in the evidence for witchcraft that more constantly recurs than the 
touching of the victim by the witch.^ Moreover, no hard and fast line 
exists between the delusions of induced hypnotism and those of 
spontaneous trance, or of the grave hystero-epileptic crises which mere 
terror is now known to develop. And association between persor.s 
who were possessed with certain exciting ideas would readily account 
for the generation of a mutually contagious influence ; as in cases 
where magic rites were performed by several persons in company ; or 

1 Thus, in a case mentioned by De I'Ancre, in the Tableau de I'Inconstance des 
nnauvais Awns ct Ik'mons (Paris, 1612), p. 11.5, all the children who believed themselves to 
have been taken to a " Sabbath," stated that the witch had passed her hand over their 
faces, or placed it on their heads. 


where a whole household or community was affected with some 
particular delusion.^ 

The above seems a sufficient explanation of the testimony which 
to the eyes of contemporaries appeared the strongest — the testimony 
of " possessed " persons, and of the professed participators in the in- 
cantation scenes and nocturnal orgies. As regards the alleged 
statements of independent persons who testified to having witnessed 
the aerial rides, transformations into animal forms, and such-like 
marvels, I would remark in the first place that the literature of 
witchcraft may be searched far and wide without encountering 
half-a-dozen first-hand statements of the sort ; '^ and in the 
second place, that there is a characteristic of uneducated minds 
which is only exceptionally observ^ed in educated adults — the 
tendency to confound mental images, pure and simple, with 
matters of fact. This tendency naturally allies itself with any set 
of images which is prominent in the beliefs of the time ; and it is 
certain now and then to give to what are merely vivid ideas the 
character of bond fide memories. The imagination which may be 
unable to produce, even in feeble-minded persons, the belief that 
they see things that are not there, may be quite able to produce 
the belief that they liave seen them — which is all, of course, that 
their testimony implies.^ 

There is, however, one small class of phenomena connected with 
witchcraft which stands on different ground, as regards the quality of 

1 A True and Just Record of the Information taken at St. Osey, in Essex (London, 1582) ; 
Potts, WonderfuU Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster, <i:c. (London, 1013) ; 
the case of the Flowers in A Collection of Rare and Curious Tracts relating to Witchcraft 
hctxvecn the Years 1618 and 1664, PP- 19) 21 ; Glanvil, Sadducismus Triumphatus, p. 581 ; 
Hutchinson, Op. cit., p. 53 ; Durbin, A Narrative of Some Extraordinary Things (Bristol, 
1800), p. 47; Horst, Zauher-Bihliothek, p. 219; Madden, Pha.ntasmata, Vol. i., pp. 346-7; 
T. Hutchinson, Historij of Matisachusctts Bay (Boston, 1692), Vol. ii., p. 18; Richet, 
V Homme etV Intelligence (Paris, 1884), p. 392. 

- If " first-hand " be restricted (as it is throughout this book) to statements in the 
witness's own words, I cannot point to a single such statement ; but in the above phrase 
I mean merely the author's statement of what was told directly to herself. The circum- 
stantial evidence (also very meagre) for these miracles stands on different ground ; as there 
the facts recorded are quite credible, and only the inference need be rejected. For 
example, the external evidence relied on for the supposed transformations was usually 
that the accused jn-oved to have some bodily hurt on the same day as a wolf or some other 
animal had been wounded. 

3 Another explanation might be attempted, if (on the analogy of certain Indian 
juggling tricks) we could suppose the spectator to have been unawares subjected to a 
"mesmeric glamour," whereby the suggestion of the magical occurrence was enabled to 
develop in his mind into an actual vision of it. One story in the Malleus Malt-fcarum, 
where a girl appeared to herself and to her friends to be a mare, while a priest (over whom 
the evil influence had no power) saw her as a girl, strongly recalls some of the Indian 
stories. See also the curious account of imps which appears in T^i^cfec.s o/^M7i<('w;(/o?i, 
Renfrew, and Essex (London, 1646). Such a result woiild, however, enormously trans- 
cend the range of mesmeric influence as so far recognised in the West ; and we certainly 
need not strain hypotheses to save the credit of writei's like Sprenger. 


the evidence adduced for it. A few cases are recorded, on really 
respectable authority, of a remarkable susceptibility, shown by 
persons whom we might now recognise as hypnotic " subjects," to the 
conscious or unconscious influence of some absent person supposed 
to be a witch ; and perhaps also of abnormal powers of discernment 
on the part of the supposed witches themselves. These alleged 
telepathic cases naturally fell into discredit along with all the other 
phenomena of occult agency. For the belief in witchcraft faded 
and ultimately died as a whole ; not because each sort of phenomenon 
was in turn exposed or explained, or because any critical account 
of hallucinations and popular delusions was forthcoming, or even 
because a certain amount of distinct fraud was proved, but because 
the general tide of uncritical opinion took a turn towards scepticism 
as to matters supernatural. Now we are certainly not concerned 
to maintain that this or that instance of alleged telepathic influence 
ought to have been allowed to stand as genuine, when belief in 
the more phantastic phenomena was undermined. Is is probable 
that in the former, as in the latter, the influence of imagination 
was not allowed for, and that the different items of evidence 
were never tested and compared in the manner that true 
scientific scepticism would dictate. We, at any rate, have difficulty 
enough in testing the accuracy of contemporary evidence, and 
certainly are not going to rest any part of our case on the records 
of a by-gone age. But if anyone who has studied the evidence for 
witchcraft urges these cases as a proof that the more recent telepathic 
evidence is unworthy of attention, it is reasonable to remark that if 
telepathy is in operation now, it was probably in operation then ; 
and that the only cases of supposed magic with which persons of sense 
and education seem, at the time, to have come to close quarters were 
similar in character to cases for which persons of sense and education 
are still found to offer their personal testimony.^ 

1 Of the early records the best known is the evidence of the Pfere Sin-in and others in 
respect of the hysterical epidemic in the Ursnline convent at Loudun, in 1033. But 
perhaps the most carefully observed case is the older one given in the Most ^tranije and 
Admirable Discover ii of the Three Witches of Warhoys (London, 15!)3), of whicli bu- \V . 
Scott's account [Dcmonology and Witchcraft, p. 238) gives a very imperfect idea. Anotlier 
example of much the same kind is given in G. More's True Discourse aijamst S. 
Harsnet (London, KiOO). The cases where the victim showed uneasmess wlien the 
absent witch was at large, and relief when she was bolted, though quite inconclusive, 
seem ocoasionally to have been rationally tested. (Witchcraft further Displajied, 
London, 1712, p. 21 ; Historu of the Witches of Renfrcicshire, Paisley, IbOi), p. \6i-, 
Sadducisvms Debellatus, London, 1(598, p. 47.) The assertions that "possessed persons 
were able to read secrets present sometimes this sign of sobriety, that the revelations are 
said to have concerned onlv 1 last and present, not future, things (see, '■■."•. I-".' 'y"'"yf.''' 
Bin Christlich Bcdenkcn und Erinnerung von Zaubcrei, Heidelberg, 1585 ; and Majolus, Dies 


But ill whatever light these residual cases be regarded, the general 
conclusion remains the same — that the phenomena which were 
characteristic of witchcraft, and which are an accepted type of 
exploded superstitions, never rested on the first-hand testimony of 
educated and intelligent persons ; and the sweeping assertion which 
is often made that such persons were, in their day, witnesses to the 
truth of these absurdities needs, therefore, to be carefully guarded. 
What the educated and intelligent believers did was to accept from 
others, as evidence oi objective facts, statements which were really only 
evidence oi^ subjective facts. And they did this naturally and excusably, 
because they lived at a time when the science of psychology was in its 
infancy, and the necessary means of correction were not within their 

One further criticism may be made as to the mental condition of 
those who were in any direct sense witnesses to the facts. They were 
invariably persons inclined to such beliefs to begin with — who had 
been brought up in them and had accepted them as a matter of 
course. We have no record of anyone who had all his life declined 
to admit the reality of the alleged phenomena, and who was suddenly 
convinced of his mistake by coming into personal contact with them. 

§ 3. We are now in a position to perceive, by comparison, how the 
case stands with the evidence for telepathy which awaits examina- 
tion. It would almost be sufficient to say that the comparison is 
an absolute contrast in respect of every point which has been 
mentioned. A very large number of our first-hand witnesses are 

Canicularcx, Mainz, 1614, p. 593) ; but as such a power finds no parallel in the telepathy of 
our day, it is satisfactory rather than otherwise to find that it is supported by hardly 
anything that can be called evidence. The strongest item is perhaps the testimony of 
Poncet to the powers of some of the convulsionnaires of St. Medard (see Bertrand, Du 
Maynetisme Anivuil, Paris, 1826, p. 435). Nor do the " thought-reading " stories about 
Somers [e.ri., in Darrell's Brief Apologie and Detcclion, London, 15!t9 and 1600), and about 
Escot de Parme (De I'Ancre, V IncredidiU et Mescriance du Sortileije, Paris, 1622) reach 
even the lowest evidential grade. It would be useless to multiply indecisive instances. If 
the least wretchedly-attested cases, even in the most wretched collections of witch-anec- 
dotes, turn out to be those which admit of a telepathic explanation, yet much stronger cases 
might well be damned by such company. And though some of the less credulous authors, 
who have a real notion of natural causes and of what constitutes proof, seem to have felt 
the evidence for supersensuous commimications to be too strong to resist [e.g., Cotta in 
The Infallible, True and Assured Witch, London, 1625) their general position is too 
wavering for their authority to have any weight. One rises from their works feeling that 
this was the side of the subject which had produced on them the strongest impression 
of reality ; and that is all that can be said. 

1 I am speaking — it must be remembered — of the attitude of educated and intelligent 
persons towards assertions which might (however loosely) be described as evidence. That 
such persons often showed themselves credulous and uninquiring in attaching value to 
mere legends and local gossip is of course true enough, but does not concern the present 
argument. For a justification of the aVjove remarks, see the Note on Witchcraft at the end 
of this chapter. 


educated and intelligent persons, whose sobriety of judginent has never 
been called in question. For the most part, moreover, they have 
been in no way inclined to admit the reality of the phenomena, prior 
to themselves encountering them. By many of them even what they 
themselves narrate has not been regarded with special interest ; while 
others, who have been unable to get behind their own experience, 
have expressed scepticism as to the existence of the phenomena as a 
class.^ The facts themselves have no special affinity with any 
particular form of faith ; they are not facts in a belief of which any 
one is specially brought up. And here we may contrast telepathy, 
not only with the comparatively modern superstition of witchcraft, 
but with phenomena of much older and wider acceptance — the 
alleged apparitions of the dead. The continued existence of departed 
friends and relatives has been one of the most constant elements of 
religious belief ; and that myths should grow up respecting their 
appearances to survivors is what might have naturally been looked 
for. But even in respect of the most striking sort of phenomena with 
which we shall here be concerned — apparitions at the time of death — 
we do not find in men's prevalent habits of thought, at any stage of 
culture, elements which would be particularly likely to produce a 
myth on the subject. And as a matter of fact, if we go to the classes 
of persons whose beliefs have no special relation to evidence, we 
do actually find the one myth prevalent, and not the other. The 
idea of apparitions after death has a wide and strong hold on the 
popular mind ; the idea of apparitions at the time either of death, 
or of serious crises in life, has no established vogue. Instances 
are, no doubt, to be met with in books of history, biography, 
and travel ; and the range which such notices cover is itself 
important, as showing that the idea, though so far from universally 
prevalent, is for all that not in any sense a speciality of particular 
times or localities. But though numerous, the instances are sporadic ; 
they appear as isolated marvels, which even those who experienced 
them regarded as such, and not as evidences to any widely-believed 
reality. So much is this the case that to many persons with 

1 It is amuiging sometimes to encoxinter arbitrary fragments of scepticism, combined 
with a belief in the " supernatural " character of many of the coincidences which we are 
endeavouring to account for as natural. Thus a gentleman contributes a case to 
Knoivlcdgc (May 16th, 1884) and concludes his letter thus : " Personally, I do not believe 
in apparitions, nor in anything akin thereto ; but coincidences such as you record from 
week to week must have happened to most of us, and obtuse indeed must the individual 
be who does not think that there is something supernatural sometimes even in coin- 


whom we have conversed on the subject we find that the very 
idea of such phenomena is practically new ; and that " apparitions," 
whether delusions or realities, have always been considered by them 
as apparitions of the dead} And if this is true of the more striking 
telepathic cases, a fortiori is it true of the less striking. The class of 
apparitions and impressions which have corresponded with the death of 
the " agent " has only been vaguely recognised ; the class which have 
corresjjonded with a state of passing excitement or danger can hardly 
be said to have been recognised at all. Even persons with whose 
general way of thinking they might seem compatible are apt to be 
repelled by their apparent uselessness, and certainly are not wont to 
exhibit any d 'priori belief in their reality ; while to others who have 
encountered them, they have appeared in the objectionable light of a 
puzzle, without analogies and without a place in the recognised order 
of Nature. 

But though I think that it is not hard to distinguish the 
evidence on which we rely from the evidence for various forms of 
popular superstition, and to show that, as a matter of fact, telepathy is 
not a popular superstition, I am far from denying a certain degree 
of force to the line of objection above suggested. Ignorance, 
credulity, and a predisposition to believe in a particular order of 
marvels, are not the only sources of unconscious falsification in human 
testimony ; and it by no means follows, because these particular 
elements of error are absent, that a bond jide first-hand narrative of 
contemporary facts is trustworthy. And having briefly considered 
certain dangers and objections from which we think that our telepathic 
evidence is free, I proceed now to consider certain others to which it 
is to a certain extent exposed, and to explain the means by which we 
have endeavoured to obviate or reduce them. 

1 Next to these, the best-recognised class are undoubtedly iho, preraonitory apparitions 
of "second-sight." 

Since the above remarks were written, I am glad to find them implicitly confirmed by 
a very high authority on myth and folk-lore, Mr. Andrew Lang. In the Nineteenth 
Century for April, 1885, he showed very clearly and amusingly how the same types of 
" ghost-story " are found in the most distant places, and in the most diverse stages of 
culture — whether owing to some common basis of fact, or to the same pervading love of 
the mysterious, or (as is sometimes ixndoubtedly the case) to the survival of remnants 
of primitive superstitions in the midst of an advancing civilisation. But though most of 
his instances are drawn from barbarous countries, he " has not encountered, among 
savages, more than one example " pf)inting to a belief in what we call telepathic impres- 
sions ; and even that one is a very doubtful example. There is, as I have said, a certain 
amount of sporadic evidence that the phenomena have been noticed at many different 
times and places ; but of any pervading belief, such as would cause people to be on the 
qui five for them and would ensure a perpetual supply of spurious evidence, neither we nor 
apparently Mr. Lang can find any indication whatever. 


§ 4. It will be best to enumerate, one by one, the general sources 
of error which may affect the testimony of honest and fairly- educated 
persons, to events that are both unusual and of a sort unrecognised 
by contemporary science. We shall thus be able to observe in detail 
how far each is likely to have affected the evidence here brought 

The most obvious danger may seem to lie in errors of observation 
and inference. And first as to errors oi observation. The phenomena 
with which these have to do are naturally objective phenomena. It 
is only in reference to the objective world that observation can be 
proved to be accurate or faulty ; the faulty observation is that 
which interprets real things in a way that does not correspond with 
reality. Now misinterpretation of this sort may undoubtedly produce 
spurious telepathic cases; and wherever we can suppose it to have 
been possible, we are bound to exclude the case from our evidence. 
Thus we have a group of narratives of the following t}'pe, suggesting 
a mistake of identity. 

Mrs. Campbell, of Dunstaffnage, Oban, wrote, in June, 188-i : — 

" Two years ago one of our tenant farmers was very ill, and my brother 
asked me to inquire how he was, on my way back from a walk I was going 
to take with a cousin of mine. We went, but on passing the old man's 
house I forgot to go in, and soon we arrived at our avenue, when my 
cousin reminded me of not having asked for the sick man. I thought of 
returning, when I distinctly saw the old man, followed by his favoui'ite 
dog, cross a field in front of us, and go into his house, and I remarked to 
my cousin, who also had seen the old man and his dog, tliat as he was so 
well that he was able to walk about, there was not much use in going to 
inquire for liim, so we went on home. But on arriving there, my brother 
came to tell us that the old man's son had just been to say that his father 
had just died." 

Here it is possible, and therefore for evidential purposes necessary, 
to suppose that the figure seen was a neighbour, or perhaps the old 
man's son.^ The next incident, given in the words of Mrs. Saxby, of 
Mount Elton, Clevedon, was narrated to her and other friends b\' the 
late Rev. G. Ridout, Vicar of Newland, Gloucestershire, on whom it 
had made a very serious impression. 

" My sister and I were left orphans wlien we were extremely young. 
We were very fond of each other. When I was nearly grown up, I was 
sent to Magdalen College, Oxford. AVhile there, one day when I was 

1 I may say here, once for all, that our gratitude to an informant is none the less 
because his or her experience may not have appeared relevant to the direct argument of 
this book. Such cases have often been very useful and instructive in other ways. 


walking in the cloisters, I saw my sister walking before me, dressed in 
white. I knew that she was not staying in Oxford, and I was much 
surprised at seeing her there — but I had no doubt whatever that it was 
my sister. She passed along the cloister before me, I following close 
behind her till she turned the iirst angle. To my surprise, when I reached 
the same place, instead of seeing her before me, she was gone. 
Immediately the conviction that she was dead seized me, and I felt 
myself strengthened to receive the tidings of her death, which reached me 
next day." 

The disappearance here seems to have been strangely sudden ; 
but we have not been able to cross-examine the witness ; and one 
knows that people of flesh and blood do sometimes get out of sight 
round comers in odd ways. Again, the Rev. C. Woodcock, Rector of 
All Saints', Axminster, writes : — 

"January 8th, 1884. 

" The follo^ving fact was often narrated in my presence by my father, 
who has been dead upwards of thirty years. He was once invited, when 
a young man, to breakfast on the ground floor at St. James's Palace, to 
meet a particular friend. He was punctual to the appointed hour ; but 
not so the expected guest. The hour had struck, but neither party present 
was willing to sit down without the mutual friend. They had not long to 
wait for seeming satisfaction, for as each stood at a window opposite the 
thoroughfare to the park, both exclaimed at the same moment, ' Oh ! 
there he is,' and the host, so fully satisfied in his ocular assurance, went 
to the door on the other side of the house, to welcome his friend, instead 
of waiting for his announcement. He stood there in vain ; the friend 
never appeared, to the great astonishment of all present ; for two persons 
standing at different windows agreed that they saw him pass at the 
identical moment. Within an hour, a man-servant appeared to announce 
that his master, the expected guest, was found dead in- his bed that 
morning. My father was a member of the Madras C. S.; the name of his 
host I forget." 

Here the eyes of two persons were concerned ; but they were in 
an expectant state of mind, which is eminently favourable to such 
mistakes. In another case, two gentlemen crossed Piccadilly under 
the impression that they saw a friend, who, as it turned out, died in 
India on that day. But it is needless to multiply instances ; in all of 
them the figure seen has been out of doors, and at some yards' distance; 
and these being the very circumstances in which we know that 
spurious recognitions often take place, there is nothing surprising in 
an occasional coincidence of the sort described. Similarly, a person 
may hear a call, perhaps of his own Christian name, outside his 
house, and may mistake the voice for that of a friend ; and, " in due 
course," as our informants sometimes say, the news of that friend's 


death may arrive.^ But it is only to an inconsiderable fraction of 
the evidence here presented that such explanations could by any 
possibility be applied. The large majority of the alleged experiences 
are, on the face of them, subjective phenomena, in the sense that they 
are independent of any real objects in the environment, and of any 
mistakes possible in connection with such objects, and are due to a 
peculiar affection of the percipient's own mind. This mode of 
regarding them (and the reservations with which the word " sub- 
jective " must be used) will be fully explained in the sequel. It is 
enough for the present to note that the witness who would be an 
unsafe authority if he said " Sea-serpents exist," may be a safe 
authority if he says, " I saw what appeared to be a sea-serpent " ; and 
this amount of assertion is all that the telepathic evidence involves. 
All the accuracy of observation required of the witness has to do with 
what he seemed to himself to see, or to hear, or to feel. 

Nor in our cases is the danger of errors of inference so serious as 
might be imagined. A man may, no doubt, see something odd or 
indefinite, at the time that his mother dies at a distance, and may 
infer that it bodes calamity ; and if, after he hears of the death, he 
infers and reports that he saw his mother's form, the error will be a 
very grave one. But it will be more convenient to treat retro- 
spective mistakes of this sort under the head of errors of memory. 
And with a percipient's interpretation of his impression at tlie 
moment we have really very little concern. He may see the 
apparition of a relative in his room, and infer first that it is the 
relative's real figure in flesh and blood, and next that it is the 
relative's spirit. Neither inference has any relation to our argument. 

1 The following example has a comic as well as a tragic side. A gentleman, w-ith 
whom the present wTiter is well acquainted, had attained some skill in "ventriloquism," 
and used occasionally to amuse himself by mystifying his friends. He \yas one day idly 
swinging on a trapeze in the Ramsgate Gymnasium, and was chatting with the wile and 
daughter of Mr. R., the manager of the place, who were at a window above him. 

' ' It occurred to me to put my powers into practice for the benefit of everj^body, so I 
delivered myself of a long, low wail, carefully muffled and made distant, so as to resemble 
a cry from the rocks on the seashore below. Without really thinking much of what I was 
doing, I amused myself for about a minute by producing ' Oh's ! ' Suddenly there was a 
disim-bance above, Mr. R. rushed upstairs, and I saw his wife hurried off by her family in 
a state of collapse. I supposed she had been taken ill, and thought no more of the 

" I did not attend the gymnasium for the next few days ; but a friend who did learnt 
what the mystery was. It appears that Mrs. R., who had several sons abroad, had 
received, at one time or another, what you call ' telepathic ' indications of any illness or 
death happening to any of them. My imitation of a distant person in distress had been 
heard and regarded by her as one of these telepathic messages, and implanted in her mind 
the belief that a son, who was abroad, and from whom they had not heard for some time, 
had at that ■moment died. So convinced was she that the voice she heard was that of her 
dying son, that she refused to listen to any comfortings, and gave herself up to despair. 
She did not recover from the shock for upwards of three weeks, and never quite forgare me." 


The only fact that concerns us is the fact that he had the subjective 
impression of seeing his relative. I may refer once more, by way of 
contrast, to the case of witchcraft, where the very basis of the 
superstition was error of inference, — error shown (and by the more 
intelligent class exclusively shown) not in the giving but in the 
interpreting of testimony. 

I 5. The tendencies to error which more vitally concern us fall 
broadly into two classes — tendencies to error in narration, and 
tendencies to error of mertiory. Let us ask, then, what are the 
various conscious or unconscious motives which may cause persons 
who belong to the educated class, and who have a general character 
for truthfulness, to narrate experiences of telepathic impressions in a 
manner which is not strictly accurate ? 

One motive which has undoubtedly to be allowed for in some cases 
is the desire to make the account edifying. This danger naturally 
attaches to the evidence for any class of facts which can be regarded, 
however erroneously, as transcending natural law. Enthusiastic 
persons will value an unusual occurrence, not for its intrinsic interest, 
but for its tendency, if accepted, to convert others to their own way of 
belief; and they will be apt to shape and colour their account of it with 
a view to the desired effect. Intent on pointing the moral, they will 
unconsciously adorn the tale. This source of error is one which it 
is specially necessary to bear in mind where some particular type of 
story is connected with a particular religious sect. The literature of 
the Society of Friends, for instance, is remarkably rich in accounts 
of providential monitions and premonitions ; and it supplies also 
a considerable number of telepathic cases. But we have already 
seen that telepathy does not specially lend itself to the support of 
definite articles of faith. Nor is any one who takes the trouble to 
study our evidence likely to maintain that errors of narration have 
largely entered into it under the influence of a propagandist zeal. It 
is rather for the sake of completeness than on account of its practical 
importance that such a possibility has been mentioned.^ 

1 Curiously enough, the only .specially " edifying " incident which has reached us on 
what seemed good authority, turns out to be quite inadmissible as evidence. The account 
was received from the Rev. (x. B. Simeon, of St. John's Vicarage, Gainsborough, of whose 
accuracy as a narrator we feel no doubt. He says : — << j„jjuarv 10th 1S84 

" When I was in Oxford, a story was going about to the effect that Dr. Pusey had 
seen an apparition in Hirih Street, and I undertook to ask him whether it was true. He 
said Mo, but that the report was pi-obably founded on the following truth : — 

" Two clergymen, A and B, well known to himself and very great friends, were 
together in the neighbourhood of Oxford. One of them, B, went away on a visit. The 


A far more frequent and effective source of error in narration is 
the tendency to make the account grapJdc andjjicttire.sque. Among 
human beings, the motives which prompt narration of matters uncon- 
nected with business or the mere machinery of life are mainly two, 
— a desire to interest one's auditor ; and a desire to put oneself en 
evidence, to feed one's own self-esteem by attracting and retaining 
the attention of others. The influence of each of these motives is 
towards making the story as good a one as possible. And though, as 
I have already said, a good deal of our evidence comes from persons 
who profess to have had no bias in favour of the reality of such events 
as they describe, and wish rather that they had not occurred, still 
the instinct to make what one says seem worth saying is too general 
for it ever to be safe to assume its absence. In such a subject as ours, 
this instinct will find its chief opportunity in making things appear 
mai'vellous. The reader must decide for himself how far the evidence 
to be here presented bears the stamp of the wonder-mongerer or 
raconteur. The desire to make people open their eyes is no doubt 
perfectly compatible with a habit of truthfulness in the ordinary 
affairs of life. Still, the desire, as a rule, is actually to see the eyes 
opening ; and the danger is therefore greater in the case of a story 
which is told off-hand and viva voce for the sake of immediate effect, 
than in the case of evidence which is first written down at leisure, and 
has then to undergo the ordeal of a careful and detailed scrutiny. 
Nor must we forget that there is another instinct which tends directly 

other, A, was in the garden, and saw his friend B come in at the gate and approach him. 
On expressing his surprise at seeing him return sooner than was expected, his friend B 
replied, in an agitated manner, ' I have been in hell for half an hour because I loved the 
praise of men more than the praise of God,' and turning, immediately left the garden. In 
the course of the next day, A, going out into the parish, met a third person, who stopped 
him and said, 'Do you know, sir, that devoted servant of God, B, is dead suddenly ? ' On 
further inquiry he found he had died the previous day shortly before his appearance in the 

" The underlined words were exactly those used by Dr. Pusey, and the whole manner 
of his telling made me feel sure that A was himself, although I did not like to ask him 
point blank. But he assured me he knew it to be true, and that, doubtless, it had given 
rise to the story going about Oxford. I fear you will think that, like most of these things, 
it lacks the full details, which probably none but Dr. Pusey could give, and which I felt 
it would be presumptuous to ask for." 

of .__ _ _ 

forced to conclude that those to whom Dr. Pusey narrated the incident were mistaken 
in supposing him to refer to himself. For it is scarcely possible to doubt that a story 
published as long ago as 1819, in the Imperial Magazine (Liverpool), p. 903, and given 
also in the Life of Mr. W. Bramwell, 1839, is the original of what he told. The vision 
appears there as a dream, not a waking percept. Otherwise the central incident is the 
same, and the very words used by the phantom are almost identical. But the names of 
the parties are not given, and all our guarantee for the correctness of the account vanishes. 
This case is of interest, as sho%ving the importance of probing a witness as thoroughly as 
possible whiles one is in the way with him. 


to discourage wonder- raongering, at any rate in the narration of 
unusual personal experiences — the instinct to win belief. Where the 
risk of being disbelieved is appreciable, a sense of accuracy becomes 
also a sense of security ; a thing being credible to oneself just because 
it is fact, the consciousness of not exaggerating the fact begets a 
sort of trust that others may somehow find it credible. And with 
the class from whom our evidence is chiefly drawn, this influence 
seems not less likely to be operative than the desire to say something 
startling. The latter tendency is more prone on the whole to affect 
second-hand witnesses, who do not feel bound to exercise any economy 
of the miraculous, who can always fall back on the plea that they are 
only telling what was told to them, and who may easily be led into 
inaccuracies by the analogy of other marvellous stories. 

And indeed it is a matter of ordinary observation, by no means 
confined to " psychical research," that where the subject of narration 
has nothing to do with merit, and what is alleged to have been done 
or suffered is not of a sort to attract admiration to the doer or sufferer, 
the more extravagant sort of stories are given, not as personal 
experiences, but on the authority of someone else. If there is 
exaggeration, it is " a friend " who is to blame ; and this term is used 
on such occasions with considerable latitude. I have already noted 
how, in the case of witchcraft, the more bizarre incidents do not rest 
on anything like traceable first-hand testimony. This remark is 
applicable in a general way to the whole field of evidence for 
marvellous events, as recorded in modern literature ; and the same 
fact has been very noticeable with respect to the evidence, of very 
various sorts and qualities, which has come under the attention of my 
colleagues and myself during the last few years. We have often 
taken the trouble to trace and test the matter of those sensational 
newspaper-paragraphs which get so freely copied from one journal 
into another ; but in scarcely one per cent, of the cases has the 
evidence held water. And in the ordinary talk of society, where 
there is often a show or assertion of authority for the statements 
made, one gradually learns to diagnose with confidence the accounts 
which profess to be second or third hand from the original, but of 
which no original will ever be forthcoming. An example is the well- 
known tale of the dripping letter, handed to a lady by the phantasmal 
figure of a midshipman who had been drowned before he could execute 
his commission. If the newspaper- anecdotes were like bubbles that 
break in the pursuer's hand, a society-marvel of this stamp may be 


more fitly compared to a will-o'-the-wisp : one never gets any nearer 
to it. Then there is the young lady who was preserved from a 
railway accident by seeing the apparition of her^ia-nc^ on the platform 
of three consecutive stations — which induced her to alight. Here I 
was actually promised an introduction to the heroine : what I finally 
received was a reference to " a friend of the lady who told the story." 
Or, again, there is the tale of second-sight, so widely told during the 
last three years, where the visitor saw a daughter of the house 
stabbed by a stranger, whom he has since identified as her husband, 
and has remorselessly dogged in hansom cabs. Three or four times 
have we been, so to speak, " one off " this story ; but the various 
clues have shown no sign of converging ; and we still occasionally 
hear of the happy couple as on their honeymoon. 

§ 6. Turning now to the sources of error in memory, we find the 
danger here is of a more insidious kind, in that comparatively few 
persons realise the extent to which it exists in their own case. For 
one who is innocent of any desire to impress his auditor in any 
particular way, and who simply desires to tell the truth, it is not easy 
to realise that he may be an untrustworthy witness about matters 
concerning himself The weaknesses of human memory, and the 
precautions which they necessitate, will be so frequent a topic in the 
sequel that a brief classification will here suffice. 

We must allow,in the first place, for a common result of the belief in 
supernatural influences and providential interpositions. Persons who are 
interested in such ideas will be keenly alive to any phenomena which 
seem to transcend a purely materialistic view of life. They will be 
apt to see facts of this class where they do not exist, and to interpret 
in this sense small or vague occurrences which if accurately examined 
at the time might have been otherwise explained. And where this 
tendency exists, it is almost inevitable that, as time goes on, the 
occurrence should represent itself to memory more and more in the 
desired light, that inconvenient details should drop out, and that the 
remainder should stand out in a deceptively significant and harmonious 
form. Of the cases to be here presented, however, only a very small 
proportion betray any idea on the part of the witness that what he 
recounts has any special religious or philosophical significance. Our 
informants have had no motive to conceal from us their real view of 
the facts ; and if they narrate an incident as simply strange or 


unaccountable, we have no right to assume their evidence to have been 
coloured by an emotional sense that materialism had been refuted 
in their person, or that supernatural communications had been 
permitted to them. Indeed, as regards religious and emotional pre- 
possessions, we are certainly justified in thinking that they have rather 
been hindrances than helps to the presentation of an abundant array 
of evidence. For it has happened in many instances that persons 
whose testimony would have been a valuable addition to the case for 
telepathy, have felt their experiences to be too intimate or too 
sacred for publication.^ 

But apart fi-om any bias of an emotional or speculative sort, we 
must certainly admit a general tendency in the human mind to make 
any picture of facts definite. To many people vagueness of emotion 
or of speculation is a delight ; but no one enjoys vagueness of 
memory. In thinking of an event which was in any way shadowy or 
uncertain, there is always a certain irksomeness in realising clearly 
how little clear it was. The same applies, of course, to events at 
which we look back through any considerable interval of time. The 
very effort to recall them implies an effort to represent them to 
the mind as precisely and completely as possible, and it is often 
not observed that the precision thus attained is- not that of 

Lastly, there is a general tendency to lighten the burden of 
memory by sinnplifying its contents — by bringing any group of 
connected events into as round and portable a form as possible. This 
may, of course, only result in the loss of excrescences and subordinate 
features, while the essential incident is left intact. But we shall 
find instances further on where simplification really alters the 
character of the evidence. Details may not simply drop out ; they 
may undergo a change, and group themselves conveniently round 
some central idea. It might reasonably be expected, and we our- 
selves certainly began by expecting, that error from this source would 
always tell in the direction of actual distortion and exaggeration ; if 
the aspect of the case was to some extent striking and significant to 
begin with, it would seem likely that this aspect of it should become 

1 To take a single instance — a lady sends us an unsensational narrative of the ordinary 
type, as to how one day in 1882, when just about to sit down to the piano, she saw close 
to her the figure of an old school-friend, who, as it turned out, died on that day at a dis- 
tance. " I am confident," she says, " of having seen the vision, though my common-sense 
makes me wish to put it down to imagination. I never saw any vision of any kind before 
or since." But we are withheld from quoting the account in a form which could have any 
evidential value, by her feeling that such publication would be wrong. 


more pronounced as it assumed a more isolated place in the mind, 
and lost its connection with the normal stream of experience in the 
course of which it appeared. As a matter of fact, however, this is by 
no means always what happens. For instance, we have met with 
several cases of the following sort. An impression of a remarkable 
kind, and which, if telepathy exists, may fairly be regarded as tele- 
pathic, has been produced on a percipient while in a state which he 
recognised at the time as one of complete wakefulness, and which 
was practically proved to be so by the fact that he did not wake from 
it — that it formed a connected part of his waking life. But in the 
natural gravitation towards easy accounts of things, he gradually 
gets to look back on this experience as a dream ; that is, he allows 
the verdict of subsequent memory to supplant the verdict of imme- 
diate consciousness. We must not then say in our haste, all men — or 
all memories — are exaggerators. Even where evidence has been modi- 
fied in passing through several mouths, a comparison between later 
and earlier versions of the same occurrence has sometimes shown that 
its more striking and significant characteristics have lost rather than 
gained by the transmission. But this is no doubt the exception. 

§ 7. Such, in brief outline, are the principal sources of error which 
may in a general way be supposed to affect the sort of evidence with 
which we are concerned ; and our next step must be to fix with pre- 
cision what the actual opportunities for perversion are. The evidence 
for telepathy has a certain type and structure of its own, and we 
must realise what this is, in order to know where to look for the weak 
points. What, then, are the essential elements of a typical telepathic 
phenomenon ? They consist in two events or two states, of a more 
or less remarkable kind, and connected, as a rule, by certain common 
characteristics ; and of a certain time-relation between the two. For 
example, if a flawless case is to be presented, it would be of the 
following type and composition : It would comprise (1) indisputable 
evidence that A (whom we call the agent) has had an unusual 
experience — say, has died ; (2) indisputable evidence that B (whom 
we call the percipient) has had an unusual experience which includes 
a certain impression of A — say, has, while wide awake, had a vision 
of A in the room ; (3) indisputable evidence that the two events co- 
incided in time — which, of course, implies that their respective dates 
can be accurately fixed. When I call such evidence as this jiaivless, 
I do not, of course, mean that it is conclusive : the fact that the two 

K 2 


events occurred, and the fact that they occurred simultaneously, 
might be placed beyond dispute, and the coincidence might, 
for all that, be due not to telepathy, but to chance alone. But 
though no single case can prove telepathy, no case where the above 
conditions are not to some extent realised can even help to prove it. 
Briefly, then, if the account of some alleged instance of telepathy 
is evidentially faulty, there must be misrepresentation as to one 
or more of the following items : (1) the state of the agent ; (2) the 
experience of the percipient ; (3) the time of (1) ; (4) the time 
of (2). 

Now the evidence where the chances of misrepresentation have 
primarily to be considered is clearly that of the jpercipient. It is the 
percipient's mention of his own experience which makes, so to speak, 
the ground-work of the case ; unless the percipient gives his own 
account of this experience, the case is in no sense a first-hand one ; 
whereas if such an account is given we should consider the evidence 
first-hand, even though the account of the agent's state is not 
obtained from himself Of course when the agent is in a position to 
give an account, it is important that his evidence should be procured ; 
but this is impossible in the numerous cases where his share in the 
matter consists simply in dying. In these cases, then, we are 
dependent on others for evidence as to the agent's side of the 
occurrence ; and primarily often on the percipient, who is our first and 
indispensable witness for the whole matter. This being premised, 
we shall have no difficulty in discovering where the risks of 
misrepresentation really lie. 

§ 8. Taking the above four items in order, the first of them — the 
state of the agent — is the one where the risk is smallest. To take the 
commonest case, the very fact, death, which makes it impossible to 
obtain the agent's personal testimony, is an event as to which, of all 
others in his history, it is least likely that a person who knew him 
should be in error. It is one also as to which corroboration of the 
percipient's statement is often most easily obtained ; either from the 
verbal testimony of surviving relatives and friends, or from contem- 
porary letters, notices, and obituaries. And where the event which 
has befallen the agent falls short of this degree of gravity, it is 
probably still sufficiently out of the common for the ascertainment of 
it by the percipient and others to have been natural and easy ; and 
a fortiori sufficiently out of the common to have stamped itself on 


the memory of the agent himself, who may now be available as a 

When we come to the next item — the experience of the percipient 
— the risk of misrepresentation seems decidedly to increase. For the 
witness is now recounting something purely personal, for the occurrence 
of which he can produce no objective proofs. He says that he saw 
something, or heard something, or felt something, which struck him as 
remarkable (in many cases, indeed, as unique in his experience), and 
this has to be taken on his word ; no external observation of him (even 
were anyone present with him at the time) could reveal whether he 
was actually experiencing these sensations which he afterwards 
described. Now to a careless glance it may seem that there is a 
loophole here, through which enough error may enter to invalidate 
the whole case. It may be said that the percipient was perhaps 
nervous, or unwell, or imaginative ; and that a report of impressions 
which are received under such conditions cannot be relied on as 
evidence. But in what was said above as to errors of observation, 
this objection has been practically answered. It would be in place if 
the question were whether what he thought he perceived was really 
there ; but it is not in place when the question is simply what he 
thought he perceived. We are discussing the experience of the 
percipient as the second of the four heads under which misrepresenta- 
tion may enter. Now, mUrepresentation of this experience would 
consist simply in the statement that he had had certain sensations or 
impressions Avhich he had not had : misinterpretation of the 
experience — e.g., if he imagined that his friend was actually physically 
present where his form had been seen or his voice heard — has nothing 
to do with the evidential point. Grant that the percipient's senses 
played him false — that his impression was a hallucination ; that, as I 
have implied, is the very light in which we ourselves regard it ; it may 
even be the light in which he regarded it himself. That does not 
prevent its being an unusual experience ; and it is simply as an 

1 The less exceptional the event, the less of course is the evidential force of the case, 
and the more important it is to obtain the direct testimony of the agent. A lady of my 
acquaintance informed me that on the 21st of October, 1883, she had a startling 
and distressing vision of a kind unique in her experience — in which she seemed to pay a 
visit to a former school-fellow, whom she had not heard of for more than ten years, to 
console her in a recent bereavement. The extent of my informant's agitation and distress 
was testified to by a near relative, to wliom she had at once narrated her exi)erience. 
A few days afterwards a notice in the Times obituary showed that her friend's husband 
had died on October 20th. Had the widow's thoughts, then, in her fresh sorrow, turned 
to her early associate and sympathetically imi)ressed her ? The widow, perhaps, might 
have told us ; but on inquiry we find that the ivife had died some years before her 
husband . 


unusual experience, which inckided an impression of his friend, that 
it has a place in the evidence. 

Now the probability that this unusual experience has been 
misrepresented will be very different, according as the mention of it by 
the percipient precedes or follows his knowledge of what has befallen 
the agent. If he gives his account in ignorance of that event, and 
independently of any ideas which it might be calculated to awake in 
his mind, there seems no ground at all for supposing that he has 
coloured his statement, at any rate in any way which would affect its 
evidential value. If A, a person with a general character for truth- 
fulness, and with no motive to deceive, mentions having had an 
unusual experience — a hallucination of the senses, an unaccount- 
able impression, or whatever he likes to call it — which was strongly 
suggestive of B, no one will tell him that he is romancing or 
exaggerating, and that he had no such impression as he reports. He 
will simply be told that his nerves are overstrung, or that he has had 
a waking dream, or something of that sort. And this assumption of 
the truth of the statement could of course not be impugned merely 
because it subsequently turned out that B died at the time. 

Hence, one of the points to which we have, throughout our 
inquiry, attached the highest value, is the proof that evidence of the 
percipient's experience was in existence prior to the receipt of the 
news of the agent's condition. This prior evidence may be of various 
sorts. The percipient may at once make a written record in a diary, 
or in a letter which may have been preserved. Where this has been 
the case, we have always endeavoured to obtain the document for 
inspection.^ Or he may have mentioned his hallucination or 

1 There are cases where a sort of exactitude is required which niakes documentary 

evidence ahnost indispensable. An instance may be found in the following account, sent to 

us by Miss Weale, who wi'ote from Nepaul, Croft Road, Torquay. 

" January 26th, 1884. 

"I had been— not on the day when the following was heard, but for some days previously 

—wondering why Dr. Pusey had not replied to a letter which I had written to him ; when, 

sittino- in our London drawing-room one day at about half -past 2 in the day, I suddenly 

iieard°Dr. Pusey speaking as if in a low voice close beside me. I was not cogitating about 

him but suddenly and distinctly heard his voice speaking. The words were an answer to 

my letter written many days previously, and I so felt it to be the reply that I went to my 

writint'-table and wrote it all dowi, and the day and hour ; and moreover (how I know not) 

it was^borne in on me, ' Why he is at Pusey Hall, and that is why he has not sooner 

replied ' and so it turned out to be. A few days after came a letter from him, written from 

Pusey Hall. The beginning of the letter bore the date of the day in question when I had 

heard his voice, but the end was dated the day previous, and in the letter ^oere the precise 

sentences I had heard. << ^ x -rx ttt » 

C. J. DoKATEA Weale. 

In answer to inquiries. Miss Weale adds : — 

"It was not one sentence or two, but one side full of a small sheet of note-paper, such 
as he usually wrote on, but I don't carry long letters about with me, and could not tell you 
the wording now. I scribbled down my waking dream as to Dr. Pusey's words, being 


impression to some one who made a note of it, or who distinctly 
remembers that it was so mentioned ; and whenever this has been 
done, we have endeavoured to get ^vritten corroboration from this 
second person. Evidence of this class affords comparatively little 
opportunity for the various sorts of error which have been passed 
in review. N o amount of carelessness of narration, or of love of the 
marvellous, would enable a witness to time his evidence in correspon- 
dence with an event of which he was ignorant, nor to fix on the 
right person with whom to connect his alleged experience. EiTors 
of memory are equally unlikely to take a form which makes the 
impression correspond mth an unknoivn event ; and danger from that 
source is, moreover, at a minimum, in cases which are distinguished 
by the very fact that the impression has been itself recorded imme- 
diately, or very shortly, after its occurrence. 

But apart from the actual records of the experience in writing 
or in someone else's memory, it may have produced action of a 
sufficiently distinct sort on the percipient's part ; for instance, it may 
have so disturbed him as to make him take a journey, or ^viite at 
once for tidings of the agent's condition. Such immediate action, 
which can often be substantiated by others, aifords a strong indepen- 
dent proof that the impression had occurred, and had been of an 
unusual kind. And even if he has done none of these things, yet if 

amazed at the vivid sense of his presence and voice, and all I wrote down was in the 

Now everything here depends on the exact accuracy of the words. They -were 
admittedly an answer to a letter, and their general tenor might easily have been surmised; 
unless, therefore, the words were identical, the case could be explained as a hallucination 
of hearing of a sufficiently ordinary type. We have obtained no complete assurance as to 
the verbal identity : and we have not been able to compare the letter with the note made 
at the time, which has probably been destroyed. 

A similar criticism will apply to the following well-kno^vn case, written down in the 
first instance by the Rev. Joseph Wilkins, a Dissenting minister at Weymouth (who died 
in 1800), and endorsed by the late Dr. Abercrombie, of Edinburgh, a man, I need hardly 
say, of great scientific acumen : — 

"Joseph Wilkins, while a young man, absent from home, dreamt, without any 
apparent reason, that he returned home, reached the house at night, found the front door 
locked, entered by the back door, visited his mother's room, found her awake, and said to 
her, 'Mother, I am going on a long journey, and am come to bid you good-bye.' A day 
or two afterwards this young man received a letter from his father, asking how he was, 
and alleging his mother's anxiety on account of a vision which had visited her on a night 
which was, in fact, that of the son's dream. The mother, lying awake in bed, had heard 
some one try the front door and enter by the back door, and had then seen the son enter 
her room, heard him say to her, ' Mother, I am going on a long journey, and am come to 
bid you good-bye,' and had answered, 'O dear son, thou art dead ! ' words which the son 
also had heard her say in his dream. " 

From an evidential point of view, everything again depends on the identity of the 
words dreamt and the words heard. And as we do not hear that Dr. Abercrombie com- 
pared a note of the dream made at the time with the father's letter, we have no assurance 
that Mr. Wilkins (by a lapse of memory, or through failure to perceive where the critical 
point lay) did not afterwards convert into absolute identity what was really a mere 
general resemblance. This would at once reduce the case to a mere " odd coincidence." 


he describes a state of discomfort or anxiety, following on his ex- 
perience and preceding his receipt of the news, this must, at any rate, 
be accounted a fresh item of testimony, confirmatory of the mere 
statement that such-and-such an unusual experience had befallen 
him; and it is sometimes possible to obtain the corroboration of 
others who have noticed or been made aware of this anxiety, even 
though the source of it was not mentioned. If, however, he has kept 
his feelings as well as their cause, to himself, there is, of course, 
nothing but his subsequent memory to depend on. Here, therefore, 
we shall have a transitional step to the next evidential class, where 
the percipient's own perception of the importance of the experience, 
and any possibilities of confirmation, date from a time when the con- 
dition of the agent has become known. 

§ 9. Cases of this t}^e are of course, as a class, less satisfactory. 
It is here that some of the recognised tendencies to error — the impulse 
to make vague things definite, and the impulse to make a group of facts 
compact and harmonious — may find their opportunity. The error will, 
of course, not arise without a certain foundation in fact : the news 
that a friend has died is not in itself calculated to create a wholly 
fictitious idea that one has had an unusual experience shortly before 
the news arrived. But an experience which has been somewhat out 
of the common may look quite different when recalled in the light of 
the subsequent knowledge. It may not only gain in significance ; its 
very content may alter. A person perhaps heard his name called 
when no one was near, and, not being subject to hallucinations of 
hearing, he was momentarily struck by the fact, but dismissed it from 
his mind. A day or two afterwards he hears of a friend's death. It 
then occurs to him that the events may have been connected. He 
endeavours to recall the sound that he heard, and seems to hear in it 
the tones of the familiar voice. Gradually the connection that he has 
at first only dimly surmised, becomes a certainty for him ; and in 
describing the occurrence, without any idea of deceiving, he will 
mention his friend's voice as though he had actually recognised it at 
the time. In the same way something dimly seen in an imperfect 
light may take for subsequent memory the aspect of a recognisable 
form ; or a momentary hallucination of touch may recur to the mind 
as a clasp of farewell. 

Now such possibilities cannot be too steadily kept in view, during 
the process of collecting and sifting evidence. At the same time, the 


interrogation of witnesses, and the comparison of earlier and later 
accounts, have not revealed any definite instance of this sort of inac- 
curacy. Now the number of alleged telepathic cases which we have 
examined (a number of which the narratives given in this book form 
less than a third) seems sufficiently large for the various types of error 
that really exist to have come to light ; and, as a matter of fact, certain 
types have come to light, and have helped us to a view of what may 
be called the laws of error in such matters. If, then, a particular 
form of inaccuracy is conspicuous by its absence from our consider- 
able list of proved inaccuracies, it may be concluded, we think, not 
to have been widely operative. It would be a different matter if 
the cases of the lower evidential class stood alone — if we were 
unable to present any cases where the percipient's identification of 
his impression with the particular personality of the agent had been 
established beyond dispute. But in face of the large number of those 
stronger instances, it would be unwarrantably violent to suppose that 
in all, or nearly all, the other cases where the percipient declares that 
the identification was clear and unmistakeable, he is o-iving fictitious 
shape and colour to a purely undistinctive experience. 

But there is yet another reason for allowing this inferior 
evidence to stand for what it is worth. For even if we make very 
large allowance for inaccuracy, and suppose that in a certain number 
of these cases the visible or audible phantasm, afterwards described as 
recognised, was really unrecognised at the moment, the evidence for 
a telepathic production of it does not thereby vanish. If, indeed, a 
witness's mental or moral status were such that he might be supposed 
capable of giving retrospective and objective distinctness to what was 
an utterly indefinite impression, with no external or sensory character 
at all, his testimony would, of course, be valueless ; simply because we 
could not assure ourselves that he had not had experiences of that 
sort daily, so that the coincidence with the real event would lose all 
significance. But in the case of a witness of fair intelligence, the 
point remains that the presence of a human being was suggested to 
his senses in a manner which was in his experience markedly 
unusual or vmique, at the time that a human being at a distance with 
whom he was more or less closely connected, was in a markedly 
unusual or unique condition. By itself such evidence might fairly, 
perhaps, be regarded as too uncertain to support any h3'pothesis. But 
if a case for telepathy can be founded on the stronger cases, where 
the immediate reference of the impression to the agent is as much 


established as the fact of the impression itself, then we have no right 
to lay down as an immutable law of telepathic experience that 
such a reference is indispensable. Recognition is beyond doubt the 
best of tests ; and in a vast majority of our cases we have the 
percipient's testimony, and in a very large number corroborative 
testimony as well, to the fact of recognition. But distinctness and 
unusualness in the experience are also evidential points. We have, 
indeed, a whole class of cases where the percipient has expressly 
stated that a phantasm which coincided with the supposed agent's 
death was unrecognised, and where, therefore, the distinctness and 
unusualness of the impression were the only grounds for paying any 
attention to the coincidence. Such cases may be far from proving 
telepathy ; yet if telepathy be a vera causa, it would be unscientific 
to leave them out of account. 

§ 10. So much for the evidence of the state of the agent, and of 
the experience of the percipient, regarded simply as events, of which 
we want to know (1) to what extent we can rely on the description that 
we receive of them; (2) to what extent the presumption of a 
telepathic connection between them is affected by the sort of in- 
accuracies that may be revealed or surmised. The sketch that has 
been given is, of course, a mere outline. It must wait for further 
amplifications of detail till we come to examine the evidence itself. 
Meanwhile it may serve to prepare the reader's mind, and to indicate 
what special points to be on the look-out for. But of those four 
essential items of a case, as to which the opportunities and the effect 
of misrepresentation were to be specially considered, two still remain, 
namely, the precise times of the two items ah-eady discussed — of the 
agent's and the percipient's respective shares in the incident. It is 
clearly essential to a telepathic case that these times should approxi- 
mately coincide ; and eiTor in the assertion of this coincidence is a 
possibility requiring fully as much attention as error in the description 
of the two events. 

But here the reader may fairly ask where the line of error is to be 
drawn. Must the coincidence be exact to the moment ? And, if not, 
what degree of inexactness may be permitted before we cease to regard 
a case as supporting the telepathic hypothesis ? It is unfortunately not 
easy for the moment to give any satisfactory answer to this question. 
Two distinct questions are in fact involved. The first is a question 
of natural fact : What are the furthest limits of time within which it 


appears, on a review of the whole subject, that a single telepathic 
phenomenon may really be included ? At what distance of time, from 
the death of an absent person, may a friend receive telepathic 
intimation of the fact ? The second question is one of interpretation 
and argument. It will be a most important part of our task hereafter 
to estimate the probability that it was by chance, and not as cause 
and effect, that the two events occurred at no very great distance of 
time from one another. The wider the interval, the greater, of course, 
does this probability become ; in other words, the larger the scope that 
we give to " coincidences " which we are willing to regard as prima 
facie telepathic in origin, the greater is the chance that we shall be 
wrong in so regarding them. Now, unless some provisional limit were 
assigned to the interval which may separate the two events, it would 
be impossible to obtain numerical data for calculating what the 
force of the argument for chance really is, and how far the hy- 
pothesis of some cause beyond chance is justified. This point 
will be made clear in the first chapter of the second volume, which 
deals with " the theory of chance -coincidence " ; meanwhile it will be 
convenient to defer both these questions, and to make the following 
brief statement without discussion or explanation. 

There is one class of cases which are not available for a numerical 
estimate at all — those, namely, where the agent's condition is not 
strictly limited in time ; for instance, where he is merely very ill, and 
no particular crisis takes place at or near the time when the 
percipient's impression occurs. This indefiniteness is, of course, a 
serious evidential weakness. But in a vast majority of the cases to be 
brought forward, the event that befalls the agent is short and definite. 
If, then, the experience of the percipient does not exactly coincide 
with that event, it must either follow or precede it. And, first, if it 
follows it ; then it will be convenient to limit the interval within 
which this must happen to 12 hours. I may mention at once 
that in most of our cases the coincidence seems to have been 
very considerably closer than this. But in a few cases the 12 
hours' limit has been reached ; and if we found that, though 
some error in evidence had made the coincidence appear to 
have been closer than it really was, yet after correction the 12 
hours seemed not to have been over-passed, we should still 
treat the case as having a prima facie claim to be considered 
telepathic. Next as to the cases where the percipient's impression 
IJvecedes some marked event or crisis in the existence of the other 


person concerned ; the question will then be, What was that 
other person's condition at the actual time that the impression 
occurred ? If it was nonmil, we should not argue here for any 
connection between the experiences of the two parties. For instance, 
we should not treat as evidence for telepathy an impression, however 
striking, which preceded by an appreciable interval an accident or 
■'iuclclen catastrophe of any sort.^ But it may happen that the 
percipient's impression falls within a season in which the condition 
of the other party is distinctly abnormal — say a season of serious 
illness ; and that it likewise precedes by less than 12 hours the 
crisis — usually death — with which that season closes. And these 
cases will not only have a priina facie claim to be considered 
telepathic, but will also admit of being used in a strict numerical 

I 11. To return now to the evidential question, it is really in the 
matter of dates, rather than facts, that the risk of an important mis- 
take is greatest. In the first place, dates are hard things to 
remember : many persons who have a fairly accurate memory for 
facts which interest them have a poor memory for dates. This is 
a natural failing, and it is also one that may easily escape notice ; 
for in the vast majority of instances where a personal experience is 
afterwards recounted, the whole interest centres in the fact, and 
none at all in the date. But in examining the evidence for an 

1 For instance, a trustworthy informant has given us the following account : — 

"December, 1883. 

" On November .oth, 1855, I was staying at a country house with several friends. 
It being a wet day, we amused ourselves by reading aloud, of which I did 
a large share ; but I was so overcome by the impression that a very dear brother was 
drowning, that ice had broken, and that he was drawn under it by the current, that I 
could not at all follow the purport of the book, and when alone, dressing for dinner, could 
only control my distress by arguing that there could be no fear of ice accidents, as the 
weather was exceptionally mild at that time. We afterwards learned my brother had 
been in very actual peril, having jumjjed into a canal dock to rescue a companion, who, 
being short-sighted, had fallen in in the dusk of the evening. He was then an under- 
graduate at Cambridge, and I was in Wales. He received a medal from the ' Humane 
ISociety,' and a watch, &c., from members of his college, in recognition of the act. I have 
never had any similar impression of death or danger to any one." [The friends with 
whom our informant was staying perfectly remember her mentioning to them what .she 
had experienced.] 

The brother— the Rev. J. C. Williams Ellis, of Gayton Rectory, Blisworth — 
confirms the facts as far as he was concerned ; but from his account, and that of 
Mr. A. Tibbits, of 44, Oakfield Road, Clifton, who was also present, we can fix the 
time of the accident at about (i.30 p.m.^ Now further inquiry has elicited the fact that the 
.sister's depression began early in the afternoon, and reached its climax soon after 5. 
Her experience was certainly, therefore, not telepathic in origin. 

The history of the Wheatcroft case, quoted in Chap, ix., affords another illustration 
of this point : had the death not been eventually proved to have preceded, a,nd not followed, 
the vision, the case could not have been used. I may add that in this instance, the 
12 hours' limit was pcssibly, but not certainly, exceeded. 


alleged telepathic case, much more than ordiuary hiiiuan irailty in 
the matter of dates has to be considered. It is just here that the 
action of the various positive tendencies to error, above enumerated, 
is really most to be apprehended. Two unusual events — say the 
death of a friend at a distance, and the hearing of a voice which 
certainly sounded like his — have happened at no very great distance 
of time. The latter event recalls the former to the mind of the 
person who experienced it ; and on reflection he feels that the 
character of the one connects it in a certain way with the other. 
True, he has kept no record of the day and hour when he heard the 
voice ; or his friend may have died in South America, and no 
accurate report of the date of the occurrence may ever have reached 
England ; but the connection which has been surmised cannot but 
raise a presumption that the two events corresponded in time as well 
as in character. " Why, otherwise, should I have heard the voice 
at all ? " the person who heard it will argue : " I am not given 
to hearing phantasmal voices. I did not know how to account for it 
before ; but now I see my way to doing so." This train of thought 
being pursued, it will seem in a very short time that the two events 
must have been simultaneous ; and what can that mean but that they 
were simultaneous ? And the fact thus arrived at will remain the point 
of the story, as long as it continues to be told. In allowing his mind 
to act thus, it will be seen that the percipient has merely followed 
the easy and convenient course. There was something baffling and 
aimless in the occurrence of the phantasmal voice, without rhyme or 
reason, at a time when the hearer was in good health and not even 
thinking of his friend. Rhyme and reason — significance and 
coherence — are supplied by the hypothesis that his friend, finding- 
death imminent, was thinking of him. It does not occur to him 
that this account of the matter is in itself harder to accept 
than the fact of a subjective auditory hallucination. To realise this 
would require a certain amount of definite psychological know- 
ledge. Things are sufficiently explained to him if they seem to 
cohere in an evident way. Or if he is sensible that his version of 
the matter introduces or suggests a decided element of the marvellous, 
still the marvel is of a sort which is a legitimate subject of human 
speculation, and with which it is interesting to have been in personal 
contact. And not only has his reason thus followed the line of 
least resistance ; his memory has also been relieved by the unity 
which he has given to its contents. It has now got a single and well- 


compacted story to carry, instead of two disconnected items. It has, 
so to speak, exchanged two silver pieces, of different coinages and 
doubtful ratio, for a single familiar florin. 

The above is no mere fancy sketch ; it represents what is really 
not unlikely to occur. When we were just now considering how far 
an honest and intelligent witness is likely to imagine afterwards that 
a passing impression which at the time was vague and unrecognised 
had really been distinct and recognised, it will be remembered that 
such a perversion seemed decidedly unlikely — that we saw no ground 
for assuming that an error of that type had entered into any- 
thing like a majority of the cases where we have no conclusive 
evidence that it has not entered. But with the dates it is otherwise. 
We have received several illustrations of the liability of even first-hand 
witnesses to make times exactly coalesce without due proof of their 
having done so, or even in spite of proof that they did not do so. 
Having by a reasoning process of a vague kind come to the conclusion 
that the two events were simultaneous, they will be apt to note any 
items of facts or inference which tell in this direction, and not such as 
may tell in the other. An informant sometimes by his very 
accuracy reveals the attitude of mind which might easily produce 
inaccuracy in other cases. He will tell us that all that was proved 
was that the death fell in the same month as the impression ; but 
that it is " borne in on him " that it was at the same hour. A good 
many people upon whom such a conviction is " borne in " will treat that 
as if it were itself the evidence required. One sort of case in which 
the tendency in question has been specially evident- is that where 
the death has taken place at a great distance from the percipient. 
The instinct of artistic perfection overshoots the mark, when a 
ship's log in the Indian Ocean shows that death took place at a 
quarter-past 3, and a clock on an English mantelpiece reveals that 
that is the very minute of the apparition. Telepathy, like electricity, 
may " annihilate space " ; but it will never make the time of day at 
two different longitudes the same. This particular error would not, 
it is true, completely vitiate the case from our point of view, since the 
12 hours' interval would not have been exceeded ; but pro tanto 
it, of course, diminishes the credit of the witness. 

§ 12. Let us now examine the two dates separately, and see where 
the danger more particularly lies, and what tests and safeguards can 
be adopted. And first as to the date of the event that has befallen the 


agent. As we have seen, it is almost always first from the percipient's 
side that we hear of this event ; and to him the knowledge of it came 
as a piece of news, sometimes by word of mouth, sometimes in a 
letter or telegram, occasionally in some printed form. In very many 
cases the date would, of course, be part of the news. Now, if his own 
experience was impressive enough to have caused him real anxiety 
or curiosity, and if his recollection is clear that the news came almost 
immediately afterwards — say within a couple of days — and that the 
time of the two events was there and then compared, and found to 
coincide, the coincidence will then rest on something better, at any 
rate, than the mere memory of a date. It will depend on the memory 
that a certain unusual and probably painful state of mind received 
remarkable justification, and that this justification in turn produced 
another state of mind which was also of an unusual type. If there 
was really no such synchronism as is represented, then not only the 
abstract fact of correspondence, but a distinct and interesting piece of 
mental experience must have been fictitiously imagined.^ Now, it 
may be said, I think, as a rule, that a fictitious imagination of this 
sort needs some little time to grow up ; that it is decidedly improb- 
able that any case which is definitely recorded very soon after the 
event will have suffered this degree of misrepresentation. But a few 
years will give the imagination time to play very strange tricks. We 
have had one very notable proof of this, in a case where a curiously 
detailed vision of a dead man, which (so far as we can ascertain) 
must have followed the actual death by at least three months, 
was represented to us, after an interval of ten years, by the 
person who had seen it — a witness of undoubted integrity — as 
having occurred on the very night of the death. We may be 
right in regarding so complete a lapse of memory on the part of 
an intelligent witness as exceptional ; but we should certainly not 
be justified in assuming that it is exceptional; and no case of 
anything like that degree of remoteness can be relied on, without some 

1 The Rev. W. G. Payne, of Toppesfield, Essex, sends us a case of a parishioner, 
Mrs. Ellen Dowsett — " a (juiet, sensible person," of whose good faith he was certain— who 
narrated to him the fact of her having been startled by the appearance of her husband, 
who was absent at Alexandria, and who died suddenly at that very time. " Feeling sure 
that this foreboded evil tidings, she became very anxious ; so much so that the clergyman 
of the parish came several times to try to console her. All his efforts to dismiss the 
thought from her mind availed nothing, and a settled conviction laid hold of her that her 
husband was dead." The case is not one that we should lay any stress on, as it comes 
to us second-hand (the percipient being dead), and we do not know who the clergyman 
was who was told of the apparition before the news arrived. But it illustrates the point 
in the text. Where an apparition causes such distress and apprehension as this, its date 
has at least a good chance of getting fixed in the mind ; and the greater, therefore, is the 
likelihood for the coincidence to be noted correctly. 


evidence beyond the percipient's mere present recollection that the 
event which befell the agent took place at the time mentioned. The 
evidence may be of various sorts. If the exact date of the percipient's 
experience can be proved, then it is often possible to fix the other 
date as the same, by letters, diaries, or obituaries, or by the verbal 
testimony of some independent witness. If no such evidence is 
accessible, or even if the exact date of the percipient's experience is 
forgotten, it may still be possible to obtain corroboration of the 
coincidence from someone who was immediately cognisant of the 
percipient's experience, and who had independent means of ascer- 
taining the further fact and of noting the connection at the time. 
But the absence of a written record of either event is, of course, a 
decidedly weak point. 

§ 13. But on the whole, the danger that the closeness of the 
coincidence may be exaggerated depends rather on mis-statement 
of the date of the -perciiyient' s than of the agent's share in the 
alleged occurrence. Clearly the fact that some one has died or has 
had a serious accident, or has been placed in circumstances of some 
unusual sort, is likely to be known to more persons, and to be more 
frequently recorded in some permanent form, than the fact that 
some one has had, or says he has had, an odd hallucination. And 
clearly also, if one of the points is fixed, and the other, by hasty 
assumption or defective memory, is moved up to it, the moveable date 
is likely to be that of the event which has no ascertainable place in 
the world of objective fact. As a rule, it is at an}^ rate possible at the 
time to obtain certainty as to the date of what has befallen the agent • 
and therefore if the percipient has been struck by his experience and 
retains evidence of its date, either in writing or in the memory of 
others to whom he mentioned it, he will very likely be prompted, 
when he hears of the other event, to assure himself as to what the 
degree of coincidence really was. But the converse case is very 
different. If the percipient does not record his experience at the time 
of its occurrence, even a week's interval may destroy the possibility of 
making sure what its exact date was ; and therefore, however certain 
the date of the other event may be, assurance as to the degree of 
coincidence will here be unattainable. It is often expressly recognised 
as such by the percipient himself; and then one can only regret that 
the importance of the class of facts — if facts indeed they are — has been 
so little realised that the simple measures which would have ensured 


accurate evidence have not been taken. But where the account given 
is one of accurate coincidence, we cannot be satisfied without good 
evidence that the point was critically examined into at the time. 
It may, of course, happen that the percipient has a clear recollection 
that the coincidence was adequately made out at the time, although 
he can produce no documentary evidence which would establish it ; 
and if others confirm his memory in this respect, that is so far 
satisfactory. Such unwritten confirmation, however, will have little 
independent force, unless the person who gives it was made aware of 
the percipient's experience within a very short time of its occurrence. 
But though the danger here must be explicitly recognised, it is 
important not to exaggerate its practical scope. The coincidence may 
have been reported as closer than it was ; but it may still, in a 
majority of cases, be fairly concluded to have fallen within the 12 
hours' limit. As a rule, the news of what has befallen the agent 
arrives soon enough for not more than a space of two days to intervene 
between the percipient's knowledge of this event and the time when, 
to make the coincidence complete, his own experience must have taken 
place. We are not, therefore, making a large demand on his memory ; 
we are only requiring that he shall remember that an experience, 
which he represents as remarkable, befell him, or did not befall him, 
on the day before yesterday. No doubt, after a lapse of years, the 
evidential value of what a person reports ceases to have a close relation 
to the knowledge of the facts which it seems pretty certain he must 
have had at the time. But the demands made at the time on the 
intelligence either of the percipient, or of anyone else who had the 
opportunity of asking questions and forming conclusions, are so slight 
that we may fairly take contemporary written records of the matter, 
or even later verbal corroboration, as having a considerable claim to 
attention, even when the best evidence of all — evidence whose existence 
preceded the arrival of the news — is wanting. And it is important to 
notice that, while we have had several coincidences reported to us as 
having been close to the hour, which turned out, on further inquiry or 
examination of documents, to have been only close to the day, we have 
had very few cases where a similar correction has proved that the 
12 hours' limit was really overpassed.^ A good many coincidences, 

1 We have, however, a case where a death was reported to us as having taken place 
at 3 a.m., and where, on reference to the letter in which it was aiinounced, it was found 
to have taken place at 6 p.m. The evidence on the jjercipient's sidr seemed satisfactory, 
as we received confirmation of the fact that she mentioned her imiiressioii at the time a& 
a unique and very distressing one, without any knowledge that her brother, who died in 
Jamaica, was even ill ; and there can be no doubt that the impression did actually fall 



no doubt, have been represented as extremely close, where no 
independent evidence on this point has been accessible, and closer 
inquiry has occasionally revealed that the assertion rested only on a 
guess. But wholly to neglect cases where the exactitude of the 
coincidence is not brought within the 12 hours' limit would clearly be 
unreasonable, provided that — on the evidence — it is not likely that 
this limit was much exceeded,^ and not certain that it was exceeded 
at all. Such cases must, of course, be excluded from any numerical 
estimate based on precise data ; but they may fairly be allowed their 
own weight on the mind. 

§ 14. We see, then, that cases where the alleged correspondence of 
facts and coincidence of dates are sufficiently close to afford a ijrirrid 
facie presumption of telepathic action, may present very various degrees 
of strength and weakness; and it may be convenient to summarise the 
evidential conditions according to their value, in the following tabular 
form. (The words " the news " mean always the news of what has 
befallen the supposed agent.) 

A. Where the event which befell the agent, with its date, is 
recorded in printed notices, or contemporary documents which we 

within the period of serious illness. But the impression was a dream ; and a dream of 
death, however remarkable in its character, which is separated from the actual event 
by 18 hours, cannot be included in our evidence. In another very similar case, the 
percipient's impression was stated, and apparently correctly, to have occurred m the 
Crimea on January 11th, 1878, and the death (of a sister) in England to have taken place 
on the same day. But on examining the letter in which the news was announced, we find 
that th c death actually took place on a Wednesday ; and Wednesday fell not on the 11th but 
on the 9th. The assumed coincidence, therefore, altogether breaks down. For some 
further instances see the " Additions and Corrections " which precede Chap. i. 

1 This question of likelihood must be carefully weighed, according to the 
circumstances. The following case, from the Rev. Canon Sherlock, of Sherlockstown, 
Naas, which was published in our first report on the subject as possibly telepathic, is a 
specimen of what we certainly should not now feel justified in regarding as evidence. 

"During the Indian Mutiny, my brother was serving (as ensign) in the 
72nd Highlanders. At that time I was an undergraduate of Trinity College, 
Dublin, and living at Sandycove, near Kingstown. One night about 2 o clock I 
was reading by the fire, when I heard myself distinctly called by my brother, the 
tone of his voice being somewhat raised and urgent ; looking round I saw his 
bead and the upper part of his body quite jjlainly. He appeared to be looking at me, and 
was about 7 or 8 feet distant. 1 looked steadily at him for about half a minute, 
when he seemed gradually to fade into a mist and disappear. The date of this occurrence 
I, unfortunately, lost note of, but upon my brother's return from India and my casually 
mentioning that I had so seen him, we talked the matter over, and both came to the 
conclusion that the apparition coincided with a dangerous attack of illness, in which my 
brother suddenly awoke with the impression that he was suffocating, at which moment he 
thought of me. The attack was brought on by sleeping during a forced march through a 
country great part of which was under water. This is the only apparition that I have 
ever experienced, and there was no anxiety on my mind which could have given rise to it, 
as we had quite recently had a letter from my brother, written in good health and spirits. 
^ ^ » W. Sherlock." 

If one dismisses all a priori leanings to a telepathic explanation, there is nothing in 
this account which renders it unlikely that the two events were separated by (say) 10 
days, or that the event in England Dreceded the one in India. 


have examined ; or is reported to us by the agent himself indepen- 
dently, or by some independent witness or witnesses ; and where 

(1) The percipient (a) made a written record of his 
experience, with its date, at the time of its occurrence, 
which record we have either seen or otherwise ascertained 
to be still in existence ; or {ff) before the arrival of the 
news, mentioned his experience to one or more persons, by 
whom the fact that he so mentioned it is corroborated ; 
or (y) immediately adopted a special course of action on 
the strength of his experience, as is proved by external 
evidence, documentary or personal. 

(2) The documentary evidence mentioned in (la) and 
(ly) is alleged to have existed, but has not been accessible 
to our inspection ; or the experience is alleged to have been 
mentioned as in (1^), or the action taken on the strength 
of it to have been remarked as in (ly), but owing to death 
or other causes, the person or persons to whom the 
experience was mentioned, or by whom the action was 
remarked, can no longer corroborate the fact. 

This second class of cases is placed here for convenience, 
but should probably rank below the next class. At the same 
time the fact that the percipient's experience was noted in 
writing by him, or was communicated to another person, 
or was acted on, before the arrival of the news, is not one 
which is at all specially likely to be unconsciously invented 
by him afterwards. 

(3) The percipient did not (a) make any written record, 
nor (^) make any verbal mention of his experience until 
after the arrival of the news, but then did one or both ; of 
which fact we have confirmation. 

This class is of course, as a rule, decidedly inferior to the 
first class. At the same time, cases occur under it in which 
the news was so immediate that the fact of the coinci- 
dence could only be impugned by representing the whole story 
as an invention. ^ 

(4) The immediate record or mention on the arrival 
of the news is alleged to have been made, but owing to 
loss of papers, death of friends, or other causes, cannot be 

' See, for instance, case 17, pp. 188-9. 

L 2 


(5) The percipient alleges that he remarked the 
coincidence Avhen he heard the news; but no record or 
mention of the circumstance was made until some time 

Such cases, of course, rapidly lose any value they may 
have as the time increases which separates the account 
from the incident. Still, sometimes we have been able to 
obtain the independent evidence of some one who heard an 
account previous to the present report to us ; or we have 
ourselves obtained two reports separated by a considerable 
interval. And where a comparison of accounts given at 
difierent times shows that they do not vary, this is to some 
extent an indication of accuracy. 

B. Where the percipient is our sole authority for the nature and 
date of the event which he alleges to have befallen the agent. 

In many of these cases, the percipient is also our sole 
authority for his own experience ; and the evidence under 
this head will then be weaker than in any of the above classes. 
But where we have independent testimony of the percipient's 
mention of the two events, and of their coincidence, soon 
after their occurrence — lie having been at the time in such 
circumstances that he would naturally know the nature and 
date of what had befallen the agent — the case may rank as 
higher in value than some of those of Class A (5). 

§ 15. The evidence which I have so far analysed is first-hand 
evidence — in the sense that the main account comes to us direct 
from the percipient. The present collection, however, includes (in the 
Supplement) a certain number of second-hand narratives ; and it will 
be well, therefore, to consider briefly what are the best sorts of 
second-hand evidence, and what kinds of inaccuracy are most to be 
apprehended in the transmission of telepathic history from mouth to 

There is one, and only one, sort ot second-hand evidence 
which can on the whole be placed on a par with first-hand ; 
namely, the evidence of a person who has been informed of the 
experience of the percipient while the latter was still unaware of the 
corresponding event ; and who has had equal opportunities with 
the percipient for learning the truth of that event, and con- 
firming the coincidence. The second-hand witness's testimony in 
such a case is quite as likely to be accurate as the percipient's for 
though his impression of the actual details will no doubt be less vivid, 


yet on the other hand he will not be under the same temptation to 
exaggerate the force or strangeness of the impression in subsequent 
retrospection. Specimens of this class have therefore been admitted 
to the body of the work, as well as to the Supplement. Putting 
this exceptional class aside, the value of second-hand evidence 
chiefly depends on the relation of the first narrator to the 
second. A second-hand account from a person only slightly 
acquainted with the original narrator is of very little value ; 
not only because it is probably the report of a story which has been 
only once heard, and that, perhaps, in a hurried or casual way ; but 
also because the less the reporter's sense of responsibility to his 
informant, the less also will be his sense of responsibility to the facts, 
and the greater the temptation to improve on the original.^ But we 
cannot so lightly dismiss the testimony of near relatives and close 
friends to a matter which they have heard the first-hand witness 
narrate more than once, or narrate in such a manner as convinced them 
that the alleged facts were to him realities, and had made a lasting 
impression on his mind. Here we at any rate have a chance of 
forming a judgment as to the character of the original authority ; we 
can make tolerably certain that what we hear was never the mere 
anecdote of a raconteur ; and we have grounds for assuming in our 
own informants a certain instinct of fidelity which may at any rate 
preserve their report from the errors of wilful carelessness and 
exaggeration. It not infrequently happens, too, that we can obtain 
several independent versions from several second-hand witnesses, which 
may mutually confirm one another ; and contemporary documentary 
evidence may give further support to the case. 

The risks of error in transmitted evidence are, of course, in many 
respects the same, in an intensified form, as those of original evidence. 
To a person who is told something which sounds surprising by some 
one else who has experienced it, the central marvel is apt to stand out 
in memory with undue relief ; and the various details and considera- 
tions which might modify the marvellous element will drop out of 
sight. One is, of course, familiar with the same process in the case 
of almost any anecdote or witticism that gets at all repandii : the 

1 A lady has described to us a hallucination which presented to her the form of her 
father-in-law, who had been dead 11 years. An acquaintance, to whom she once 
mentioned this exiierience, had reported it to us as the apparition of her brother, with the 
addition that "a short time afterwards she received news of her brother's death, which 
had taken place at the very time of the apparition." There is a touch of ^nature in the 
fact that the author of this amended version considers the original witness " not at all an 
imaginative person." 


point is retained, the details and surroundings vary. For purposes of 
amusement such variations may be wholly unimportant ; for purposes 
of evidence they may be all-important. Facts, moreover, are very 
much easier to improve than hon mots and the like, and with the 
second-hand narrator the tendency to make things picturesque 
and complete, by the addition, omission, or transformation of 
details, is naturally stronger in that there is no deeply-graven sense 
of the reality to act as a check on it. A gentleman, who signs 
himself " Rector," writes to the Daily Telegraph, and describes a 
number of clergymen sitting round a table, on the evening when the 
late Bishop of Winchester met with his fatal accident. " One of 
them said, ' There is the Bishop looking in at that window.' Another 
immediately said, ' No, he is at this window.' " What really 
happened — as we learn from Mr. G. W. Paxon, who was present 
at the scene referred to — was that a strange figure passed the three 
windows of the dining-room at Wotton, but that " it was not possible 
for the gentlemen present " (who, by the way, were three only, 
and all laymen) to identify it. Mr. Evelyn went out to see who 
it could be, but it had disappeared with mysterious rapidity. 
And that is the whole story. Again, a young man, we are told, was 
dying in London, his friends being unaware of his whereabouts. A 
sister of his in Edinburgh, who was also dying, " said that 
she was present at the death-bed of her brother ; she gave an outline 
of his room, and told the name and number of the street." A 
friend of our informant's, Mr. David Lewis, of 21, St. Andrew 
Square, Edinburgh, was then asked to inquire, went to the address, 
and found (as he informs us) that the young man had just died there. 
But on more careful inquiry from the lady's husband, we learn 
that though his wife described the room, she did not see the name of 
the street ; and that he himself knew his brother-in-law's address at 
the time, and had actually received a letter saying that he was very 
ill and not expected to live. The description of the room — even if 
proved to be correct — could have no evidential force unless extremely 
minute. All that remains to be accounted for, therefore, is the 
lady's impression as to her brother's condition ; and though her 
husband is sure that she could not have known it in any ordinary 
way, it is impossible for outsiders — remembering that the knowledge 
did exist in the house at the time — to share his confidence. Again, a 
gentleman tells us how his grandfather, when taking a walk at 
Honfleur, on November 24th, 1859, saw the apparition of his (our 


informant's) sister, who expired at that time in England. He 

followed the figure, and it disappeared on reaching his garden. " In 

conversation afterwards the very wrapper worn by the deceased was 

described." We obtain a copy of the original letter in which the 

grandfather described the occurrence, and find that he was Avalking 

" in the dark and a drizzling rain " when he observed something very 

white. " It appeared to be a lady in white, Avithout a bonnet, but 

a large white veil over her head. It disappeared at the door of a 

house. This took place as near the time of dear Sarah's departure as 

possible." Here, therefore, the second-hand account introditced the 

recognition, omitted the uncertain light, and altered the place of 

disappearance. Once more, a lady has had a strong impression of 

her husband's being in danger, at a time when he actually had a 

narrow escape in a railway accident. In this accident a number of 

cattle were killed, and the line was red with their blood. The story 

comes round to us that the wife had not only an impression of 

danger, but a vivid picture of blood. 

It is amusing sometimes to find that evidence breaks doAvn on 

the exact point which has been held to be its most convincing 

feature. The following narrative, though a third-hand one, seemed to 

have some claim to attention, as it reached us from two independent 

quarters ; and the two accounts so completely agree that we may 

assume that we have the correct version of the second-hand witness. 

Mr. W. C. Morland, of Lamberhurst Court Lodge, Kent, (who vouches 

for no more than that he repeats exactly what he was told,) writes to 

us as follows : — 

"August 11th, 1883. 

" My wife's great-uncle was private secretary to Warren Hastings in 
India, and one day, when sitting in Council, they all saw a figure pass 
through the Council-room into an inner room, from which there was no 
other exit. One of the Council exclaimed, ' Good God ! that is my 
father.' Search was made in the inner room, but nothing could be found, 
and Warren Hastings, turning to his secretary, said, ' Cator, make a note 
of this, and put it with the minutes of to-day's Council.' As a small 
incident in the story, it was noticed that the figure had one of our 
modern pot hats. Seine months after, a ship arrived bringing the news 
of the old gentleman's death and the first pot hats that had been seen 
in India. 

" I simply tell it you as I heard it from a Mr. Sparkes, wlio is 
now dead, and who, as well as my wife, was a great-nephew to — and 
probably heard it from — the old Mr. Cator who was present at the 
Council. I never heard him say whether he heard it direct from Mr. 
Cator, but I think it likely, as he was rather nearly related, and from his 
age must have known him." 


Precisely similar details were given by Mr. Sparkes to the 
Rev. B. Wrey Savile, who has published the case in his book on 
Apparitions; in this account the Member of Council who 
recognised his father figures as Mr. Shakespeare. Now the official 
minutes of the Supreme Council have been searched for us; but it does 
not appear either that Mr. Shakespeare was a Member of Council 
at the time, or that Mr. Cator was Hastings' private secretary, 
though he was certainly in the Company's service. We learn, 
however, from the Superintendent of Records at the India Office 
that "it is believed that the registers of the Company's servants 
in India at that early date were not always quite accurate " ; so 
that these discoveries would not alone have thrown serious suspicion 
on the report. And the chimney-pot hat seemed, at any rate, 
something respectable to stand by. The phantom, in fact, owed 
his character to his hat ; for it is hard to imagine how Mr. Cator 
or Mr. Sparkes could have gratuitously introduced such a feature 
into the story. But the curious perfection of the detail as to the 
simultaneous arrival of the news and of the real hats at once 
suggests scrutiny of the dates. All the accounts of chimney-pot 
hats that we have been able to find agree that they came into 
use between 1790 and 179.5, though they seem to have been 
worn in France as early as 1787. They cannot, therefore, have 
reached India before the termination of Hastings' governorship 
in 1785. Thus the case at once assumes a mythical air ; and the 
most we can assume is that probably some odd coincidence occurred.^ 

I will add a case where the instinct that we have noticed, to make 
evidence picturesque, has so far overleapt itself as to supply the very 
means of confutation. The late Mrs. Howitt Watts gave us the 
narrative as from her mother, who had " many times heard it related " 
by her mother, the percipient, and so far it is third-hand. But Mrs. 
Watts had also heard it from her grandmother's own lips. The 
occurrence took place at Heanor, in Derbyshire. 

" My mother's family name, Tantum, is an uncommon one, which I do 
not recollect to have met with, except in a story of Miss Leslie's. My 
mother had two brothers, Francis and Kichard. The younger, Richard, I 

1 Very comparable is an account which we have received, written by the late Lieut.- 
Colonel Balneavis— describing how, when a child, he was woke by his mother, who had 
had a terrifying vision of her husband " putting a corpse in full uniform on a sofa, and 
afterwards covering it over with a white sheet " ; and how his father was " at the very 
time " performing these offices for Sir T. Maitland, Governor of Malta, with whom he 
had been dining, and who "dropped down dead at table." We find from the Annual 
Register that Sir T. Maitland was taken ill in the middle of the day, at the house of a 
friend, and died there in the evening, in bed, after being speechless for 8 hours. 


knew well, for he lived to an old age. The elder, Francis, was at the time 
of the occurrence I am about to report, a gay young man, about twenty, 
unmarried, handsome, frank, affectionate, and extremely beloved by all 
classes throughout that part of the country. He is described, in that age 
of powder and pigtails, as wearing his auburn hair flowing in ringlets on his 
shoulders, like another Absalom, and was much admired, as well for his 
personal grace as for the life and gaiety of his manners. 

" One fine calm afternoon, my mother, shortly after a confinement, but 
perfectly convalescent, was lying in bed, enjoying, from her window, the 
sense of summer beauty and repose : a bright sky above, and the quiet 
village before her. In this state she was gladdened by hearing footsteps 
which she took to be those of her brother Frank, as he was familiarly 
called, approaching the chamber-door. The visitor knocked and entered. 
The foot of the bed was towards the door, and the curtains at the foot, 
notwithstanding the season, were drawn, to prevent any draught. Her 
brother parted them, and looked in upon her. His gaze was earnest, and 
destitute of its usual cheerfulness, and he spoke not a word. ' My dear 
Frank,' said my mother, ' how glad I am to see you. Come round to the 
bedside ; I wish to have some talk with you.' 

" He closed the curtains, as complying ; but instead of doing so, 
my mother, to her astonishment, heard him leave the room, close 
the door behind him, and begin to descend the stairs. Greatly 
amazed, she hastily rang, and when her maid appeared she bade her call 
her brother back. The girl replied that she had not seen him enter the 
house. But my mother insisted, saying, ' He was here but this instant. 
Run ! quick ! call him back ! I must see him.' 

" The girl hurried away, but, after a time, returned, saying that she 
could learn nothing of him anywhere ; nor had anyone in or about the 
house seen him either enter or depart. 

" Now, my father's house stood at the bottom of the village, and close 
to the high-road, which was quite straight ; so that anyone passing along 
it must have been seen for a much longer period than had elapsed. The 
girl said she had looked up and down the road, then searched the garden — 
a large, old-fashioned one, with shady walks. But neither in the garden 
nor on the road was he to be seen. She had inquired at the nearest 
cottages in the village ; but no one had noticed him pass. 

" My mother, though a very pious woman, was far from superstitious ; 
yet the strangeness of this circumstance struck her forcibly. While she 
lay pondering upon it, there was heard a sudden running and excited 
talking in the village street." 

Briefly, the cause of the disturbance was that Mr. Francis Tantum 
had just been killed. He had been dining at Shipley Hall, about a mile 
oft', and was riding home after the early country dinner of that day — 
somewhat elated, it may be, with wine. He stopped at the door of an 
ale-house at Heanor, where he offended the young man who served him, 
by striking him with his whip. The youth ran into the house, seized a 
carving-knife, darted back, and stabbed him. 

This story obtained a certain currency, having been published by 
Mr. Dale Owen in his Footfalls. Yet the simple precaution of 


getting independent evidence as to the time of the death goes far to 
ruin its character. A certificate sent to us by the rector of the parish 
shows that Mr. F. Tantum was buried on the Uk of February, and 
that his age was 36. And this does more than merely disturb our 
picture of the quiet summer scene, and of the Absalom of twenty. 
The time of year shows that the percipient's vision probably took 
place after dark ; so that " any one passing along the high-road " 
might very well not have been seen a minute after his departure; 
and the inquiries at the cottages would have been worth little or 
nothing. But these researches, as they are described, must have 
taken time ; and as the news of the murder would be likely to 
spread fast, we should conclude that that event took place decidedly 
after the vision. Thus there appears no adequate reason why the 
apparition should not have been the real man — his conduct, though 
undoubtedly odd, being explicable by the state of slight intoxication 
which the narrative suggests. 

But apart from sensational additions, details are apt to creep in 
which seem sober and innocent enough, but which make the whole 
difference from an evidential point of view. A very striking narrative 
reaches us from a second-hand source, as to how an officer in India 
one day saw his father, long deceased, issue from a wood leading his 
mother by the hand ; how the latter addressed some words to her son, 
and the pair then vanished ; and how he afterwards learnt that his 
mother had died in England on that very day. We happened already 
to have a first-hand account of the incident, in which the visitation 
that coincided with the death was described not as a waking 'percept, 
but as a dream. The enormous difference, for the purpose of our 
argument, which this point involves will abundantly appear in the 
sequel. Again, in transmitted cases it is quite remarkable how often 
the percipient " made a note " of his experience at the time of its 
occurrence — an act of foresight in which percipients, to judge from 
their own first-hand accounts, seem only too apt to fail. 

In transmitted evidence, which is more remote than second-hand, 
another frequent point is that the chain of transmission is shortened 
— that a narrative which has really passed through two or through 
three mouths will be represented as having passed only through one 
or through two. For instance, a gentleman tells us of a striking 
telepathic phantasm which appeared to a friend of his, a sea-captain, 
on board ship. Nautical phantasms are not a favourite class of ours ; 
the evidence is too apt to " suffer a sea-change " ; and even the 


guarantee offered to us in respect of another specimen, that " the 
crew had no difficulty in believing it, " is not completely reassuring. 
But the present example, at any rate, proved quite too superlatively 
nautical ; for it turned out that the sea-captain was not the original 
vsritness, but had heard the story from another sea-captain ; and that 
this sea-captain had heard it from the " man at the wheel " ; whom 
we have not troubled for it. Again, a story which has been more than 
once printed by Spiritualistic writers begins as follows : — " Mrs. 
Crawford, in the Metropolitan Magazine in 1836, tells us that the 
then Lord Chedworth was a man who suffered deeply from doubts" — 
and then describes how the apparition of a sceptical friend of Lord 
Chedworth's presented itself one night, told him that there was a 
judgment to come, and disappeared — the news of the friend's death 
arriving " in due course " next morning. On referring to Mrs. 
Crawford's own account, we find the hero of the story described as 
"Lord Chedworth, the father of the late lord": and even this 
description is incorrect, as the fourth baron — with whose death in 
1804 the title became extinct — succeeded, not his father, but his 
uncle.^ This possible shortening of the chain of evidence is a point 
that must never be lost sight of when the account was given orally 
to the last witness, and was not made the subject of minute inquiry.^ 
But perhaps no feature of the transmitted narratives is on the whole 
so suggestive as the wonderful exactness of the all-important time- 
coincidence ; which in these cases we must be doubly careful of 

1 The story which "drags at each remove a lengthening chain," even though the 
removes be in the direction of its source, is a type that has become very familiar to us. 
The following is a sample of many a correspondence which is more amusing in retrospect 
than in reality. 

Miss A. described to me a remarkable incident, as related to her by the Rev. B., who 
had heard of it from the lady to whom it occurred. 

The Rev. B., on being applied to, said that he had heard of it, not from the lady to 
whom it occurred, but from the Rev. C. . 

The Rev. C. was applied to, but had only heard the story from the Rev. D. ; with 
whose appearance on the scene hope revived. 

The Rev. D. reported that he had not heard the story from the heroine of it, but from 
a friend of hers, Mrs. E., who would procure it from the heroine. 

Mrs. E., in turn, reported that her authority. Miss F., was not herself the herome, 
but had been informed by Miss G., who was. 

Miss F., on being applied to, had only heard Miss G.'s story third-hand, but referred 
me to Miss H., a nearer friend of Miss G.'s. 

Miss H. kindly applied to Miss G., but reported, as the result, that Miss G.'s own 
information was only third or fourth hand. 

Such is the last state (as far as I am concerned at any rate) of a story which began by 
being third-hand, and has been traced back through seven mouths. 

2 For instance, a friend of the present writer reports as follows : — 

" About ten years ago Admiral Johtison, of Little Baddow, Essex, told me as follows : 
One day he was walking with companions in a wood, when he suddenly saw his brother 
Arthur, in uniform, and said, ' There's my brother ! ' It was discovered afterwards that 
the brother died at that time." 

We have failed to trace this occurrence ; and it may be surmised as possible that the 
hero of the story, which was told in casual conversation, was not Admiral Johnson 


assuming to have been founded on a genuine coincidence of a less 
exact kind (p. 139). Thus, a gentleman strikingly describes to us 
how a friend of his, while walking in Barnsley, and when no one was 
within 30 yards of her, felt herself seized by two hands round the 
waist ; her only " enlightenment on the matter " being that " on the 
very same afternoon her brother went down with the ill-fated training 
ship, the ' Eurydice.' " On applying direct to the lady, we find that the 
hallucination took place " two days before the dreadful accident." The 
more remote the incident, and the less the authority for the story, the 
more clinching the correspondence becomes, till its perfection is really 
quite wearisome. " On the day of his vision, and at that very moment, 

himself, but some one else. That is, the story may be third-hand, and is of no evidential 

The following narrative from Mrs. Lonsdale, of Lichfield, is another instance in 
point : — 

" I was sitting next my dear old friend. Dr. (since Sir Thomas) Watson, at a London 
dinner-party. I think some one on the opposite side of the table said to him, ' A physician 
in your extensive practice must hear and see strange things sometimes. ' He said, ' Indeed 
we do.' He then turned to me and said, ' You know that I am a matter-of-fact person, 
and I will now tell you the strangest of all the strange things that ever happened to me. 

" ' I was called in, some years ago, to see a man, a stranger to me, who had been taken 
dangerously ill at his chambers in the Temple. Directly I saw him I knew that he had 
not more than 24 hours to live, and I told him that he must lose no time in settlmg any 
worldly affairs, and in sending for any relations whom he might wash to see. He told me 
he had only one near relation, a brother, who was in one of the Midland counties. By my 
patient's desire, I sat down and wrote to the brother, telling him that if he would find the 
sick man still alive he must come off at once, on receipt of my letter. The next mornmg, 
■while I was visiting my patient, who was then sinking fast, the brother arrived. As he 
came in at the door, the dying man fixed his eyes on his face and said, " Ah ! brother, how 
d'ye do— I saw you last night, you know." To my infinite surprise, the brother, instead of 
appearing to take these words as I did, for the dreamy wanderings of extreme weakness, 
replied quietly, " Ah ! yes— so you did— so you did." All was over in a very short time, 
and when we left the bedroom together, I could not help asking the brother what those 
strange words meant. He said, "You may well ask, but as sure as I see you now, I saw 
my brother in the middle of last night ; he came out of a cupboard at the foot of my bed, 
and after gazing at me for a minute or two, without speaking, he disappeared." ' " 

An account of what appears to be the same incident is given, as authentic, but 
without names, by Dr. Elliotson, in the Zoist, Vol. viii., p. 70. But on the other hand, 
Sir T. Watson's family, to whom we applied, seem never to have heard of the story ; 
which we may therefore not unreasonably suppose to have been narrated as a friend s 
experience. . -1,1,* 

I give one more instance — worth nothing of course as it stands— m the hope of 
inducing some readers to take do\vn at the time the names and addresses of casual 
acquaintances who seem to have bond iide evidence to produce. The account was sent 
to us by Mrs. Pritchard, of The Cottage, Bangor, North Wales, on February 7th, 1884. 

" i much regret that I am not able to give you the name and address of the lady [i.e., 
Mrs. Pritchard's informant], for I do not know it myself. I met her at the Barmouth 
Hotel last summer. She told me that upon one occasion, when her husband had left 
home for a couple of days, she had a most painful impression that he was being crushed. 
When he returned she ran up to him, saying, ' Oh, I'm so glad you have come back 
safely, for I've had a dreadful feeling that you were crushed.' Her husband then told her 
that he had seen a woman crushed to death by the train close by where he stood, and it 
affected him greatly— he couldn't get it out of his mind, and it prevented him sleeping. 

" I have \vritten to Barmouth to try and find out the name of these people, but as.n|^ 
visitors' book is kept at the hotel, they were unable to give me any information. I think 
the name was Dickenson, and I know that the husband is a solicitor m one of the Enghsh 
towns — a young man." 

Here, if we could have discovered the address, the account might possibly have been 
made first-hand ; at present we should not be safe in giving it even as second-hand. 


his friend was passing away," is quite the accepted sort of formula. 
We may hunt far in such accounts before we find any guarding 
clauses, as that " the hour of death was never exactly ascertained," or 
" the vision was in the morning, but the death did not take place till 
the afternoon " — clauses which are common enough, be it observed, 
in first-hand records. 

It would, however, not be fair to leave this list of causes which 
diminish the amount of presentable second-hand evidence, without 
adding that of the more reliable sort of second-hand (no less than of 
first-hand) cases, a considerable number are withheld from publication 
from motives with which it is hard altogether to sympathise. Persons 
who have a really accurate knowledge of some incident in which 
a deceased relative has been concerned, and who — seeing that the 
incident did no dishonour to any one's head or heart — have no scruple 
in publishing it at casual dinner-parties, become sometimes almost 
morbidly scrupulous when there is a question of making it available, 
even in an anonymous form, for a scientific purpose. 

Here I may close this preliminary survey of the possibilities 
of error which must be constantly kept in view in the investigation 
of alleged telepathic cases, and which must be either excluded by 
evidence or carefully allowed for. Both the dangers and the safe- 
guards will, of course, be better realised when we come to the details 
of particular cases. It does not seem necessary to give a similar 
synopsis of the evidential flaws and weaknesses which are not in any 
sense errors. Some of these may be apparent on the very face of the 
evidence ; as when the percij)ient expressly states that his impression 
was of an undefined sort, or was of a sort which he had experienced 
on other occasions without the correspondence of any real event, or 
that the coincidence of dates, though close, was not exactly ascertained. 
Others may appear when we take all the circumstances into considera- 
tion, although the percipient may fail to admit them ; for instance, a 
person who is in decided anxiety about an absent relative or friend 
may be regarded as to some extent predisposed to subjective impres- 
sions which suggest his presence, so that the accidental coincidence 
of such an impression with some actual crisis that is apprehended may 
be regarded as not violently improbable. All such topics, however, 
will find a more convenient place in the sequel. 

S 16. And now with regard to the cases that have been included 
in the evidential part of the present work. A certain separation has 


been attempted. In the main body of the book, no cases are given 
which are not first-hand, or of the particular second-hand sort which 
(as explained on p. 148) is on a par with first-hand ; or in which the 
'prima facie probability that the facts stated are substantially correct 
is not tolerably strong. But the Supplement includes a good many 
second-hand accounts ; ^ as well as first-hand accounts where the 
evidence, from lack of corroboration or other causes, falls short of 
the standard previously attained.^ Our principle in selecting cases 
for the Supplement has been to take only those which — supposing 
telepathy to be established as a fact in Nature — would reasonably be 
regarded as examples of it. Their existence adds force to the proof 
of telepathy; but we should not have put them forward as an 
adequate proof by themselves. This separation, however, does not 
apportion the evidential weight of the two divisions with rigid 
precision. For, given a certain amount of assurance that the facts 
are correctly reported, the value of the facts in the argument for 
telepathy will vary according to the class to which they belong. 
There are strong classes and weak classes. Now the body of the work 
includes specimens of purely emotional impressions, and of dreams — 
classes which we shall find by their very nature to be weak ; and 
more weight might reasonably be attached to some case in the 
Supplement, even though less completely attested, if it belonged 
to the strongest class, which we shall find to be the class of 
waking visual phantasms. And even within the limits of a single 
class, it is impossible to evaluate the cases with exactness. A 
phantasm of sight or sound which does not at the moment suggest 
the appearance or voice of an absent friend, may still — if unique in 
the percipient's experience, and if the coincidence of time with the 
friend's death is exact — have about an equal claim to be considered 
telepathic with a distinctly recognised phantasm, the coincidence of 
which with the death (though it may have been exact) cannot 
with certainty be brought closer than three or four days. 

Then as regards the mere accuracy of the records — though it has 
been possible to draw up a sort of table of degrees, such a table, of 
course, affords no final criterion. It is a guide in the dissection of 

1 We have seen that there is one sort of second-hand evidence which must rank as on 
a par with first-hand. On the same principle there is one sort of third-hand evidence 
which must rank as on a par with second-hand. A few third-hand accounts of this 
type have been admitted to the Supplement ; and one or two others by special exception. 

■- There are, however, a few first-hand cases in the Supplement which would have 
found a place in the main body of the work (in substitution probably for some which now 
appear there), had they been received earlier. 



testimony ; it directs attention to important structural points ; but 
it takes no account of the living qualities, the character, training, 
and habits of thought of witnesses. We have included no cases where 
the witnesses were not, to the best of our belief, honest in intention, 
and possessed of sufficient intelligence to be competent reporters 
of definite facts with which they had been closely connected. But 
the report, say, of a sceptical ^ lawyer or a man of science, who had 
totally disbelieved in the whole class of phenomena until convinced 
by his own experience, . is naturally stronger evidence than the 
report of a lady who, whether owing to natural proclivities or to 
want of scientific training, has no sense of any a priori objections 
to the telepathic hypothesis. The report of a person who has seen 
the phantasm of a friend at the time of his death, but considers 
that the coincidence may have been accidental, is stronger evidence 
than the report of a person who would regard such a supposition 
as irreverent. Each case must be judged on its merits, by 
reference to a considerable number of points ; '^ and as far as 

1 It occasionally happens, however, that scepticism, no less than superstition, may 
mar the evidence. We have received a case where two sisters in England, sleeping 
apparently in different rooms, saw the form of another sister who was just dying in 
Germany; but, " having a horror of encouraging superstitious fancies," they purposely 
abstained from making an exact note of the day and hour, and neither of them 
mentioned what she had seen to the other. And thus the triumph of robust common- 
sense has been to prevent the verification of a date ! 

2 Among the variety of considerations involved, it is impossible to hope for more than 
a general approval of our princi[)les of admission. The cases on the line often present a 
very puzzling array of ^^r-os and cons. Take, for instance, the following first-hand instance. 

On February 10th, 1884, Mrs. Longley, of 4, Liverpool Lawn, Ramsgate, a respectable 
married woman, who has never had any other hallucination of the senses, heard a voice 
call " Mother " three times. She knew that she had been awake, as she had been restless, 
and was amusing herself by seeing how long the moon would take to cross a certain pane of 
glass. She thought that her son, who was sleeping in a room above her own, must be ill ; 
but on going up, she found him fast asleep. She tells us that she looked at the clock on 
the stairs, and noticed that it was 3.15 a.m. Nine days afterwards she received the news 
that her eldest and much-loved son, who was at sea, had been drowned, at about that 
hour, on a moonlight night, and that his first cry was, " Mother, mother, mother ! Save 
me for my mother's sake." Her husband, she says, went to Grimsby, and learnt these 
details from the captain of the vessel, and also made out that the night was the same as 
that of her own experience. 

Now the incidents here are recent ; and we need feel no doubt as to the fact either of 
the unusual auditory impression (which Mrs. Longley mentioned to several people 
besides her own family before the news arrived), or of the death. These are the pros. 
The C071S. are as follows. (1) The voice was unrecognised. This, however, would not alone 
be fatal to the evidence ; and in one way it even tells in favour of the teleiiathic 
explanation, as, had the voice suggested the son at sea, it would have been easier to 
ascribe the impression to latent anxiety on his account. (2) The narrator is quite 
uneducated ; and times and intervals are matters in which the memory of uneducated 
persons is specially apt to get hazy. (3) She is certain that her husband, and the f^on 
who was at home, would not corroborate her statement in writing— her husband in 
particular having an aversion to signing documents. (4) No note having been taken, 
nothing that the husband could say now would convince us that he was justified in his 
conclusion as to the coincidence of the day ; and though the date of the death might still be 
ascertained by independent inquiry, this would not help us, as the exact date of the voice 
is irrecoverable. ■ 

The inclusion of such a case would perhaps not have injured our argument ; but we 
have felt it safer to reject it. 


"written testimony goes, the reader will have the same opportunities 
as we have had for forming an opinion. We have done our 
best to obtain corroborative evidence of all sorts, whether from 
private sources, from public notices, or from official records. We 
have often failed ; and these failures, and other evidential flaws, have 
been brought into (I fear) wearisome prominence. In quotations, care 
has, of course, been taken to give the exact words of witnesses. 
The only exceptions are that (1) we have occasionally omitted 
reflections and 'other matter which formed no part of the evidence ; 
and (2) we have corrected a few obvious slips of writing, and 
introduced an occasional word for the sake of grammatical 
coherence, where the narrative has come to us piecemeal, or where 
the above-named omissions have been made. But in no case have we 
made the slightest alteration of meaning, or omitted anything that 
could by any possibility be held to modify the account given. A few 
cases have been summarised, in whole or in part ; but here the form 
of the sentences will show that they are not quotations. Any 
word or phrase interpolated for other than grammatical reasons is 
clearly distinguished by being placed within square brackets. 

One advantage, however, which we ourselves have had, cannot 
be communicated to our readers — namely, the increased power of 
judgment which a personal interview with the narrator gives. The 
effect of these interviews on our own minds has been on the 
whole distinctly favourable. They have greatly added to our confi- 
dence that what we are here presenting is the testimony of 
trustworthy and intelligent witnesses. And if the collection be 
taken as a whole, this seems to be a sufficient guarantee. It follows 
from the very nature of telepathic cases (as distinguished, say, 
from the alleged phenomena of " ghost-seeing " or of " Spiritual- 
ism ") that the evidence often in great measure, so to speak, 
makes itself — the agent's side in the matter being beyond dispute. 
Thus a valid case, as has been shown above, might perfectly well rest 
on the testimony of a person whose own interpretation of it was 
totally erroneous, and whose intelligence and memory were only 
adequate to reporting truthfully that he thought he saw so-and-so 
in his room yesterday or the day before. But we have naturally 
preferred to be on the safe side. We have, therefore, excluded all 
narratives where, on personal acquaintance with the witnesses, we 
felt that we should be uneasy in confronting them with a critical 
cross-examiner ; and we have frequently thought it right to exclude 


cases, otherwise satisfactory, that depended on the reports of 
uneducated persons.^ Nor, I think, will the reader find much 
to suggest perversion of facts through superstitious a priori fancies. 
The greater part of our witnesses, as already stated, have had no 
special belief in the phenomena, except so far as they have them- 
selves come in contact with them ; and even where their interest 
has been awakened, it has seldom been of a more intense kind 
than might naturally be excited by a remarkable passage of 
personal or family experience. They have not, for instance, been at 
all in the attitude towards the subject which is now ours, and 
which it is hoped that the reader may come to share. Thus even 
on this score, their common-sense, in the ordinary straightforward 
meaning of the term, could hardly be impugned. Perhaps even so 
general a testimony to character as this is somewhat of an im- 
pertinence ; to give it precision in particular cases would, as a rule, 
be out of the question. But however little weight such an 
expression of opinion may have, the mere statement that we are, in 
the large majority of cases, personally acquainted with our witnesses, 
has a distinct bearing on the evidence ; for it practically implies 
that they gave us their account in such a way that their good faith 
is pledged to it. 

§ 17. But there is quantity as well as quality to consider : the 
basis of our demonstration needs to be broad as well as strong. We 
might have a few correspondences perfect in every detail, a few 

' First-hand evidence, where the witness cannot be cross-questioned, is at once in- 
validated by any doubt as to the case that may have been .felt by persons who were 
more immediately cognisant of it. The well-known Norway story is an instance. In 
Earl;i Years and Late Ite_tleetions, by Clement Carlyon, M.D., there is a signed 
account by Mr. Edmund Norway of a vision of his brother's murder that he had 
while in command of the Orient, on a voyage from Manilla to Cadiz. ]Mr. Arthur 
S. Norway, son of the murdered man and nephew of Mr. Edmund Norway, tells us 
that the account was taken down by Dr. Carlyon from his uncle, at the latter's house ; he 
himself also has heard it from his uncle's own lips. It describes with some detail how in 
a vision, on the night of February Sth, 1840, Mr. Edmund Norway saw his brother set 
upon and killed by two assailants at a particular spot on the road between St. Columb 
and Wadebridge : and how he immediately mentioned the vision to the second officer, 
Mr. Henry Wren. The brother was actually nuirdered by two men at that spot, on that 
night, and the details — as given in the confession of one of the murderers, William 
Lightfoot — agree with those of the vision. But Mr. Arthur Norway further tells us that 
another of his uncles and the late Sir William Molesworth "investigated the dream at the 
time. Both were clever men, and they were at that time searching deeply and experi- 
menting in mesmerism — so that they were well fitted to form an opinion. They arrived 
at the conclusion that the dream was imagined." Mr. Arthur Norwaj'' has also heard Mr. 
Wren sjieak of the voyage, but without any allusion to the dream. This is just a case, 
therefore, where we may justly susyiect that detail and precision have been retrospectively 
introduced into the jiercipient's experience. 

It almost goes without saying, in a case like this, that sooner or later we shall be told 
that the vision was inscribed in the ship's log ; and Mr. Dale Owen duly tells us so. Mr. 
Arthur Norway expressly contradicts the fact. 


coincidences precise to the moment, established by evidence which 
was irresistible ; and pure accident might still be the true explanation 
of them. Later, however, it will be proved, as I think, beyond the 
shadow of a doubt, that that line cannot be taken in respect of the 
several hundreds of coincidences included in these volumes. And the 
majority of persons who regard the book from an evidential 
point of view, and who start with the legitimate a priori prejudice 
against the whole class of phenomena, will certainly take other ground. 
They will take exception to the evidence as it stands. They will not 
be concerned to deny that there would be an enormously strong case 
for the reality of telepathy, supposing the correspondences and coinci- 
dences to have occurred exactly as stated ; but they will take the 
ground that they did not so occur ; and will frame various hypotheses, 
according to which it should be possible that the evidence should be 
thus, and the facts otherwise. 

Now not only is the endeavour to frame such h}^otheses legiti- 
mate : it has been throughout an indispensable part of our own work. 
Even improbable hypotheses ought to be carefully considered ; for we 
have no desire to underrate the a priori improbability of our own 
hypotheses of telepathy. It is extremely difficult to compare the 
improbability of any particular combination of known conditions with 
the improbability of the existence of a hitherto unknown condition. 
But the point on which we desire to lay stress is the number of 
improbable hypotheses that will have to be propounded if the 
telepathic explanation is rejected. Of course, this point may be 
evaded by including all the hypotheses needed in a single 
sweeping assumption, as to the general untrustworthiness of human 
testimony. This mode of argument would be perfectly legitimate 
if we were presenting a collection of unsifted second and third- 
hand stories ; but it will scarcely seem equally so in application 
to what we do present. The evidence (or at any rate a very 
large amount of it) is of a sort which merits attention, even 
from those who most fully share the views that I have 
endeavoured to express as to the chances of error in the records 
of unusual occurrences. It cannot be summarily dismissed ; if it 
is to be got rid of, it must be explained away in detail. And 
it is the continued process of attempts to explain away which may, 
we think, produce on others the same cumulative effect as it has 
produced on ourselves. The attempts have been made on the lines 
already sketched ; and so far as any reader agrees that the risks 


and vulnerable points have been carefully considered in the abstract, 
he may be willing provisionally to accept an assurance that a 
similar careful and rationally sceptical mode of examination has 
been applied to the concrete instances. The work is, no doubt, 
wearisome ; but there is no avoiding it, for anyone who wishes to 
form a fair independent opinion as to what the strength of the 
case for telepathy really is. The narratives are very various, and 
their force is derived from very various characteristics ; the endeavour 
to account for them without resorting to telepathy must, therefore, 
be carried through a considerable number of groups, before it produces 
its legitimate effect on the mind. That effect arises from the 
number and variety of the improbable suppositions, now violent, now 
vague — contradictory of our experience of all sorts of human acts and 
human relations — that have to be made at every turn. Not only have 
we to assume such an extent of forgetfulness and inaccuracy, about 
simple and striking facts of the immediate past, as is totally unex- 
ampled in any other range of experience. Not only have we to assume 
that distressing or exciting news about another person produces a 
havoc in the memory which has never been noted in connection with 
distress or excitement in any other form. We must leave this merely 
general ground, and make suppositions as detailed as the evidence 
itself We must suppose that some people have a way of dating their 
letters in indifference to the calendar, or making entries in their 
diaries on the wrong page and never discovering the error ; and that 
whole families have been struck by the collective hallucination that 
one of their members had made a particular remark, the substance of 
which had never even entered that member's head; and that it is a 
recognised custom to write mournful letters about bereavements which 
have never occurred ; and that when A describes to a friend how he 
has distinctly heard the voice of B, it is not infrequently by a slip of 
the tongue for C ; and that when D says he is not subject to halluci- 
nations of vision, it is through momentary forgetfulness of the fact 
that he has a spectral illusion once a week ; and that when a wife 
interrupts her husband's slumbers with words of distress or alarm, it 
is only her fun, or a sudden morbid craving for undeserved sympathy; 
and that when people assert that they were in sound health, in good 
spirits, and wide awake, at a particular time which they had occasion 
to note, it is a safe conclusion rhat they were having a nightmare, or 
were the prostrate victims of nervous hypochondria. Every one of 
these improbabilities is, perhaps, in itself a possibility ; but as the 

M 2 


narratives drive us from one desperate expedient to another, when 
time after time we are compelled to own that deliberate falsification 
is less unlikely than the assumptions we are making, and then again 
when we submit the theory of deliberate falsification to the cumulative 
test, and see what is involved in the supposition that hundreds of 
persons of established character, known to us for the most part and 
unknown to one another, have simultaneously formed a plot to deceive 
us — there comes a point where the reason rebels. Common-sense 
persists in recognising that when phenomena, which are united by a 
fundamental characteristic and have every appearance of forming a 
single natural group, are presented to be explained, an explanation 
which multiplies causes is improbable, and an explanation which 
multiplies improbable causes becomes, at a certain point, incredible. 

§ 18. I am aware that in its abstract form, and apart from actual 
study of the cases, this reasoning must be wholly unconvincing. But 
meanwhile the argument for the general trustworthiness of our 
evidence may be put in another, and, perhaps, clearer light. Amid 
all their differences, the cases present one general characteristic — an 
unvisual affection of one person, having no apparent relation to any- 
thing outside him except the unusual condition, otherwise unknown to 
him, of another person. It is this characteristic that gives them the 
appearance, as I have just said, of a true natural growp. Now 
the full significance of these words may easily escape notice. They 
have an evidential as well as a theoretic bearing. They involve, 
of course, the hypothesis that the facts, if truly stated, are probably 
due to a single cause ; but they involve, further, a very strong 
argument that the facts are truly stated. Let us suppose, for the 
moment, that any amount of laxity of memory and of statement may 
be expected even from first-hand witnesses, belonging to the 
educated class. And let us ignore all the heterogeneous improba- 
bilities which we were just now considering ; and assume that the 
mistakes mentioned, and others like them, may occur at any 
moment. What, then, is the likelihood that all these various 
causes — all these errors of inference, lapses of memory, and exaggera- 
tions and perversions of narration — will issue in a consistent body of 
evidence, presenting one well-defined type of phenomenon, free in 
every case from excrescences or inconsistent features and explicable, 
and completely explicable, by one equally well-defined hypothesis ? 
What is the likelihood that a number of narratives, which are assumed 


to have diverged in various ways from the actual facts, should thus 
converge to a single result ? Several hundreds of independent and 
first-hand reporters have, wittingly or unwittingly, got loose from the 
truth, and are well started down the inclined plane of the marvellous. 
Yet all of them stop short at or within a given line — the line being 
the exact one up to which a particular explanation, not of theirs but 
of ours, can be extended, and beyond which it could not be extended. 
Tempting marvels lie further on — marvels which in the popular view 
are quite as likely to be true as the facts actually reported, and which 
the general traditions of the subject would connect with those facts. 
But our reporters one and all eschew them. To take, for instance, the 
group of cases which the reader will probably find to be the most 
interesting, as it is also the largest, in our collection — apparitions at the 
time of death. Why should not such apparitioQs hold prolonged 
converse with the waking friend ? Why should they not produce 
'physical effects — shed tears on the pillow and make it wet, open the 
door and leave it open, or leave some tangible token of their presence ? 
It is surely noteworthy that we have not had to reject, on grounds 
like these, a single narrative which on other grounds would have 
been admitted. Have all our informants drawn an arbitrary 
line, and all drawn precisely the same arbitrary line, between 
the mistakes and exaggerations of which they luill be guilty, and the 
mistakes and exaggerations of which they will not ? We might 
imagine them as travellers, ignorant of zoology, each of whom reports 
that he has landed on a strange shore, and has encountered a strange 
animal. Some of the travellers have been nearer the animal, and 
have had a better view of him than others, and their accounts vary 
in clearness ; but these accounts, though independently drawn up, 
all point to the same source ; they all present a consistent picture of 
the self-same animal, and what is more, the picture is one which 
zoology can find no positive cause to distrust. We find in it none of 
the familiar features of myth or of untrained fancy ; the reports have 
not given wings to a quadruped, or horns and hoofs to a caruivor ; 
they contradict nothing that is known. Can we fairly suppose that 
this complete agreement, alike in what they contain and in what 
they do not contain, is the accidental result of a hundred disconnected 
mistakes ? 

It is most instructive, in this connection, to compare first-hand 
(and the better sort of second-hand) narratives with others. I have 
already spoken of the greater general sobriety of the first-hand 


evidence. I may now add that the suspiciously startling details 
which often characterise the more remote narratives are precisely of 
the sort which the telepathic hypothesis could by no possibility be 
made to cover. To wet the pillow or leave the door open would be 
quite an ordinary breach of manners in the popular " ghost," or the 
second-hand apparition of doubtful authority. I have mentioned 
the real dripping letter conveyed by the phantasmal midshipman. 
I may further recall the scar reported to have been left on the lady's 
wrist by the touch of the well-known " Beresford " apparition; and the 
wounds alleged to have been produced on the bodies of absent witches, 
by blows and sword thrusts directed to their " astral " appearances. 
No marvels in the least resembling these find any place in our first- 
hand records ; yet why should they not, if those records are funda- 
mentally untrustworthy ? The existence of such features in other 
narratives sufficiently shows how wide is the possible range of incidents, 
in stories where the ordinary limitations of communication between 
human beings are alleged to have been transcended. Of this wide 
field, the hypothesis of the action of mind on mind, which we are 
endeavouring to develop, covers only a single well-defined portion. 
By what fatality, if error is widely at work in the case of our first- 
hand evidence, do its results always fall inside and not outside this 
very limited area ? If our witnesses are assumed to sit loose to the 
facts which they have known, why should they bring their accounts 
into rigid (though purely accidental) conformity with a theory which 
they have not known ? 

§ 19. What I have here indicated is the general impression pro- 
duced by the evidence in our own minds. In our view, the reality of 
telepathy (even apart from a consideration of the experimental evi- 
dence) may be not unreasonably taken as proved. Having formed this 
view, we are bound to state it ; but we expressly refrain from putting 
it forward dogmatically, and from saying that to reject it would argue 
want of candour or intelligence. We hold that, in such a matter, it 
is idle to attempt to define the line of complete proof; and the proof 
given — if it be one — is far from being of an eclatant or overwhelming 
sort. To those who do not realise the strength of the a 'priori 
presumption against it, it may easily look more overwhelming than it 
is. To others, again, it may appear that, on the hypothesis that the 
fiiculty has acted as widely as we have supposed, the highest 
evidential standard ought to have been reached in a larger number of 


cases. To us it rather seems that the evidence that we find is just 
about what might have been expected. We see nothing in the mere 
existence of telepathy that would tend to make reserved people 
mention strange experiences, or to make careless or busy people keep 
conscientious diaries — or generally that would lead the persons 
immediately connected with a telepathic case, in which their emotions 
may be deeply involved, to act with a single eye to producing a 
clinching piece of evidence for the future benefit of critical 
psychological inquirers. It would, of course, be useless for us to urge 
that evidence which falls short of the best is still as good as can be 
expected, unless we were able to present a certain nucleus of fairly 
conclusive cases, and this we think we can do. But if the proof is held 
to demand more cases of the highest evidential quality, we must trust 
to time for them. The ideal collection would, of course, be one where 
every independent instance should be so evidentially complete that it 
must be either (1) telepathic, or (2) a purely accidental coincidence of 
a most striking kind, or (3) the result of a fraudulent conspiracy to 
deceive, in which several persons of good character and reputation have 
taken part. In our view, this point has been reached in a sufficient 
number of the examples here given to exclude the second and third 
of these alternatives ; but these examples constitute only a very 
small minority compared with the mass of cases which are merely 
confirmatory — strongly confirmatory, as we think, but still confirma- 
tory only and not crucial. And the collection so far falls short of the 

In saymg, then, that telepathy may not unreasonably be taken as 
proved, I do not wish for a moment to imply that the proof which we 
give is the one which we should eventually desire to see given. To no 
reader, we think, will the various imperfections and weak spots of our 
case be more patent than they have been to ourselves. Some of these 
are beyond remedy — as the absence of contemporary documents. 
Others may possibly be remedied at a later stage — for instance, the 
suppression of names.^ It has been impossible to bring home to all 

1 The suppressed names have in all cases been given to us in confidence ; and in some 
instances with permission to mention them to any persons who have any bond fide interest 
in the subject. Purely anonymous cases can of course have no weight at all. I subjoin 
a couple of cases which are of a normal type, and have quite the air of being honilfijtc,^ as 
samples of a numerous class which have to be treated as waste paper. The following 
account appeared in the Times for December 26th, 1868, in a review of Scott's Demonology 
and Witchcraft. The writer, who is here perforce anonymous, says that it " has quite 
recently fallen under our own observation." 

" A young English lady had been betrothed to an officer before his departure to the 
East. During her lover's absence she was taken abroad by her mother, and on their 


our informants that where a person refuses to a phenomenon, 
belonging to a certain class, the direct testimony which he would give, 
if needful, to any other sort of personal experience, the world is sure to 
take the view that he lacks that complete assurance of the reality of 
the experience which alone can make his evidence worthy of serious 

arrival late one evening at a French inn, they found it necessary to occupy rooms on 
different floors. As Miss C. was in the act of getting into bed late at night, she 
suddenly beheld the form of her lover standing in a remote corner of her chamber. His 
countenance was extremely sad, and she observed that round his right arm he wore a band 
of crape. Indignant at the conduct of her betrothed in entering her sleeping apartment, 
she called on him loudly to depart ; the form of her lover remained speechless, but as she 
lifted up her voice, his brow grew yet sadder, and as he glided silently out of the room he 
seemed a prey to the gloomiest feelings. After a time Miss C. summoned up sufficient 
courage to descend to her mother and recite her adventiire. They caused diligent search 
to be made for the returned officer, but without success. Nor could the smallest trace of 
him be afterwards discovered. Several weeks later the young lady received the news of 
her lover's death in a general action in India." 

If such an account as this appeared in a leading newspaper now, we should hope of 
course to obtain the means of sifting it. But cases like the following could not be pursued 
without great expense in local advertising. 

" Birmingham, December 15th, 1882. 

"Dear Sir,— I have much pleasure in forwarding the following perfectly authentic 
account. It has never before been made known beyond our own immediate circle, and I 
relate it to you in the hope that it may be instrumental, with others of greater importance, 
in establishing the fact that there is indeed, and in truth, a future existence. 

" A long time ago when my mother— who is now dead— was a girl, she was staymg 
with her cousin, who was in delicate health ; they were reading or chatting when^ suddenly, 
the latter's attention was drawn to the door, and she exclaimed, with delight, ' Why, there's 
grandma ! Why did you not say she was here ? ' The two— especially the latter— were 
great favourites of the old lady. Mother, hearing this, at once turned round, but saw 
nothing, but at once left the room, fully expecting to find her among the other members of 
the family. But being told that the old lady was not there she returned wth the 
information to her cousin, who loudly protested that they were deceiving her, as she had 
been again, during mother's absence, and she had a ribbon in her cap which she had sent 
her a short time before, on her birthday anniversary. Mother again went to the other 
members of the family with this news. They, of course, thought it strange, and told the 
girl that it was only imagination. On the following day, however, news arrived that at 
that very time the old lady had passed away. 

" This is perfectly true, and can, if neccessary, be corroborated by my brother, who 
is a clergj'man. 

" You may make any use you like of this communication, but I do not wish my name 
and address to be published, and so subscribe myself, yours, &c., 

" Well- Wisher." 

The signature probably expresses the truth ; but for all that it effectually prevents 
the narrative from being " instrumental in establishing " any fact whatever. But even 
more tantalising than anonymity is an insufficient or undecipherable address. The 
following is a case which this cause has rendered abortive. Inquiries for the locality have 
been made all over the British Isles without success. 

" Gurnet Bay. 

" .January 1st, 1884. 

"I do not believe in supernatural visitations, and the following experiences of my 
mother may be outside the range of your inquiries. 

" My mother, while an infant, lost her father by an accident, and was brought up by 
a maternal uncle, who was greatly attached to her, and for whom she had the most 
unbounded affection. Learning that he was about to be married, and not being able 
to endure a divided affection, she left him, came up to Hampshire, married, and settled 
there, occasi(mally hearing from him. The night on which her uncle died, she was sleep- 
ing with a middle-aged lady named Day. At the moment of her uncle's death, as it 
afterwards a])peared, she awoke in great agitation, exclaiming, ' My God ! my uncle's 
dead,' and frightened her companion, who awoke at the same time. So vivid was the 
impression that she made immediate i>reparation to go to Box, near Bath, where her 
uncle's residence was. On her arrival she found that he had died at the time and under 
exactly the circumstances she had seen in her dream, having strongly desired to see her 
at the'last. " E. J. a'Coukt Smith." 


attention. This is not always just; since the reason why he suppresses 
his name may be, not that he doubts the truth of his evidence, 
but that he regards the truth in this particular department of 
Nature as something disgraceful or uncanny ; or it may be mere 
fear of ridicule, or a shrinking from any form of publicity. But 
meanwhile the defect must not be extenuated. Even minor points 
may detract from the businesslike look of the work. Informants 
whose evidence is otherwise satisfactory sometimes feel it a sort 
of mysterious duty to throw a veil over something — if it is only 

to put C for Clapham. A dash is the last refuge of the 

occult. We must not be held to be blind to these blots because 
we have printed the evidence in which they occur. But the case, 
as it stands, seemed worth presenting, and the time for presenting 
it seemed to have arrived. Even if it be weaker than we think 
it, there is the future as well as the past to think of By far 
the greater part of the telepathic evidence, even of the last twenty 
years, has undoubtedly perished, for all scientific purposes ; we 
want the account for the next twenty years to be different. But 
it is only by a decided change in the attitude of the public mind 
towards the subject that the passing phenomena can be caught and 
fixed ; and it is only by a wider knowledge of what there already is 
to know that this change can come about. Thus our best chance of 
a more satisfactory harvest hereafter is to exhibit our sheaf of 
gleanings now. If telepathy is a reality, examples of it may be 
trusted to go on occurring ; and with the increase of intelligent 
interest in psychical research we may hope that the collection and 
verification of good first-hand evidence will gradually become easier, 
and that the necessity of careful contemporary records, and of complete 
attestation, will be more widely perceived. 

§ 20. Meanwhile it may be just worth while to forestall an objec- 
tion — which, as it has been made before, may be made again — to the 
argument from numbers. It has been urged that no accumulation of 
instances can make up a solid case, if no individual instance can be 
absolutely certified as free from flaw. But the different items of 
inductive proof are, of course, not like the links of a deductive chain. 
The true metaphor is the sticks and the faggot ; and our right to treat 
any particular case as a stick depends, not on its being so flawlessly 
strong, as evidence for our hypothesis, that no other hypothesis can 
possibly be entertained with regard to it, but on the much humbler 


fact that any other hypothesis involves the assumption of something 
in itself improbable. Third-hand ghost-stories, and the ordinary 
examples of popular superstitions, have no claim to be regarded as 
sticks at all, since the rejection of the popular explanation of them 
involves no improbable assumptions of any kind ; at best they are dry 
reeds, and no multiplication of their number could ever make a 
respectable faggot. But in every one of the examples on which 
we rest the telepathic hypothesis, the rejection of that hypothesis 
does, as I have pointed out, involve the assumption of something 
in itself improbable ; and every such example adds to the cumula- 
tive force of the argument for telepathy. The multiplication 
of such examples, therefore, makes a faggot of ever-increasing 

When made explicit, this seems too plain to be denied ; but an 
extreme case may perhaps make the point even clearer. If, since the 
world began, nobody had ever died without a phantasm of him 
appearing to one or more of his friends, the joint occurrence of the 
two events would have been a piece of universally recognised 
knowledge ; of the cause of which we should to this day possibly not 
know more, and could not possibly know less, than we know of the 
cause of gravitation. Nor, if the attestation had been forthcoming in 
the case of only half the deaths, would its significance have been 
much more likely to be disputed ; nor if it had been forthcoming in the 
case of a quarter, or a tenth, or even a hundredth of the number. But 
those who admit this, practically admit that there is a conceivable 
number of well attested cases which they would regard as conclusive 
evidence of telepathy. We may ask them, then, to name their 
number; and if they do so, we may not unreasonably proceed to 
inquire the grounds of their selection. A writer on the subject 
lately named 5000 as the mark ; but can he make his reasons explicit 
for considering 5000 as conclusive, and 4000, or even 1000, as 
inconclusive ? In course of time we hope that his minimum may be 
reached ; but any limit must be to a great extent arbitrary. We shall 
be content if impartial readers, who do not feel convinced that an 
adequate inductive proof has been attained, are yet brought to see 
that our object and method are scientifically defensible ; while we, on 
our side, fully admit that the adequacy of the present collection 
does not admit of demonstration, and are perfectly willing that it 
should be regarded as only a first imperfect instalment of what is 


§ 21. Perhaps, after all, the difference of instinct as to what really 
is needed may be considerably less than at first sight appears. For we 
have not been able to regard the alleged phenomena in the completely 
detached fashion which most of those who consider them naturally 
adopt. We are unable to determine how far the impression on our 
own minds of the evidence for spontaneous telepathy has been 
dependent on our conviction of the genuineness of cognate 
experimental cases. These latter being for the most part trivial, 
recent, and little known, it is not surprising that comparatively 
few persons should have considered them, and that still fewer should 
have grasped their bearing on the spontaneous cases. But to anyone 
who accepts the experimental results, the a priori presumption 
against other forms of supersensuous communication can hardly 
retain its former aspect. The presumption is diminished — the 
hospitality of the mind to such phenomena is increased — in a 
degree which is none the less important that it does not admit of 
calculation. A further step of about equal importance is made 
when we advance to the better-evidenced of the transitional cases ; 
though here again the effect on our own minds, due to our know- 
ledge of the persons concerned, cannot be imparted to others. 
Attention has been duly drawn to the difficulty of embracing these 
several classes in a common physical conception; hxxt on psycl to- 
logical ground we cannot doubt that we are justified (provisionally 
at any rate) in regarding them as continuous. Remembering the 
existence of the transitional class, we may regard the extremes as 
not more remote from one another than the electrical phenomena 
of the cat's coat from those of the firmament. Electricity, indeed, 
affords in this way a singularly close parallel to telepathy. " The 
spontaneous apparitions of the dying " (I quote Mr. Myers' words) 
"may stand for the lightning; while the ancient observations on 
the attraction of amber for straw may fairly be paralleled by our 
modest experiments with cards and diagrams. The spontaneous 
phenomena, on the one hand, have been observed in every age, 
but observed with mere terror and bewilderment. And, on the 
other hand, candid friends have expressed surprise at our taking 
a serious interest in getting a rude picture froTii one person's 
mind into another, or proving that ginger may be hot in the 
mouth by the effect of unconscious sympathy alone. Yet we 
hold that these trivial cases of community of sensation are the 
germinal indications of a far-reaching force, whose higher manifes- 


tations may outshine these as the lightning outshines the sparks on 
Puss's back. We hold that the lowest telepathic manifestations 
may be used to explain and corroborate the highest." Their con- 
ditions differ widely ; so widely, indeed, as to supply indirectly 
an argument for the genuineness of the facts, since totally distinct 
and independent hypotheses — that of collusion in the one case, 
and of forgetfulness or exaggeration in the other — would be needed 
to refute them. Yet, with all this difference of conditions, when 
we compare the facts of either class with any facts which the 
accepted psychology includes, we cannot help recognising the great 
common characteristic — a supersensuous influence of mind on mind 
— as a true generic bond. Where that characteristic is found, 
there we have a natural group of phenomena which differ far 
more fundamentally from all other known phenomena than they 
can possibly differ among themselves. Their unity is found in 
contrast. Till more is known of their causes, it may be impossible 
for science to establish their inner relationships, just as it is 
impossible to establish the degrees of affinity between casually 
selected members of a single human community. But they draw 
together, so to speak, on the field of science, even as men of one 
race draw together when cast among an alien population. 


In saying that there is a total absence of respectable evidence, and an 
almost total absence of any first-hand evidence at all, for those alleged 
phenomena of magic and witchcraft which cannot be accounted for as the 
results of diseased imagination, hysteria, hypnotism, and occasionally, 
perhaps, of telepathy, I have made a sweeping statement which it may 
perhaps seem that nothing short of a knowledge of the whole witch- 
literature of the world could justify. I have, of course, no claim to 
this complete knowledge. My statement depends on a careful search 
through about 260 books on the subject (including, I think, most of the 
principal ones of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries), and a large number 
of contemporary records of trials, i Such a list is certainly very far 
from exhaustive. But as, on the one hand, the 450 works which Le 

1 The greater part of this irksome task has been carried out for me with rare zeal and 
intelligence by my friend, Miss Porter, to whom I must here once agam express my 


Loyer professed to have studied, before writing his Livre des Spectres, 
did not fortify him with the trustworthy record of a single case, so, on 
the other hand, a much smaller assortment may suffice to support 
very wide negative conclusions. To those who have travelled over 
the same ground, the reason will be obvious. Every student of records of 
abnormal or "supernatural" events must have been struck by the way in 
which the same cases keep on reappearing in one work after another. 
Even the most credulous partisans exercise a sort of economy of the 
marvellous, in so far as they find that copying out old marvels is a great 
saving of time and responsibility. And this is very specially the case with 
the literature now in question. Bodin's Demonomanie and the Malleus 
Malejicarum supplied generations of theorists with their pittance of facts ; 
and not even the Beresford ghost has done such hard and continuous duty 
in the cause of superstition as some few of the witch-cases. 

Considering the enormous place that lycanthropy, for instance, plays 
in the interminable discussions as to what the devil could do, and how he 
did it, it is strange to realise what the evidence (outside confessions^) 
actually was. Putting Nebuchadnezzar and Lot's wife out of the 
question, the main burden of the proof seems really to rest on about four 
cases. Either it is the 11th century legend, quoted from William of 
Malmesbury, of the two old women who kept an inn, and transformed 
their guests into asses : or it is the equally mythical tale of the wood- 
cutter who wounded three cats, and declared that three women 
afterwards accused him of having wounded them ; or it is Peter Stubbe, 
against whom the evidence was that the villagers lit on liim unexpectedly, 
while they were hunting a wolf ; or it is the man who, having cut oif a 
wolf's paw, drew from his pocket the hand of his host's wife, whom he 
found sitting composedly without it — a stpry told to Boguet {as a joke for 
aught we can tell) by a person who professed to have picked it up in travel- 
ling through the locality. Even the credulous De I'Ancre "- admits that, 
with wide opportunities, he has not come on the track of any transformations 
— a fact which seems to have a good deal impressed him. But in the eyes of 
other writers, perpetual citation seems to have imparted to the classical 
legends just mentioned the virtue of good first-hand testimony. Glanvil gives 

^ When we remember the ways in which confessions were obtained, the regard in 
which they were held appears the most amazing fact in the whole history of witchcraft. 
The common view is quaintly illustrated in an account of Peter Stubbe (translated from 
the Dutch, London, 1590) ; where it is said that Peter "after being put to the rack, and 
fearing the torture, volluntarihie confessed his whole life." Even where no violent 
means were used, the mind of the accused would be unhinged by starvation, enforced 
sleeplessness, or mere despair. And as if this was not enough, we have the dismal record 
of cheats and quibbles— e.r/., the promising his Hfe to the accused if he woiild confess, 
meaning eternal life. We have also, no doubt, to allow for the morbid vanity and shame- 
lessness which is a symptom of advanced hysteria. (See Richet, Ojo. cit., p. 364.) 

- Tableau de V Inconstance des Mauvais Anges et Demons (Paris, 11J12), p. 312. 


another case where a panting old woman was suddenly seen in the place 
of a hunted hare, on the authority of a huntsman ■} but there are 
features in the account which strongly suggest, as Glanvil admits, that 
the huntsman was a wag. I find another less known English example 
of the kind ; and the manner of its appearance is significant. The record 
of the trial of the Essex witches in 1645 ^ contains, first, all manner of 
first-hand evidence to witches' " familiars " — evidence which must have 
been easy enough to get, considering that a man who had looked through 
a cottage window, and seen a woman holding a lock of wool that cast a 
shadow, was believed when he described these objects as her white and 
black imps ; •^ and then at last we have a case of transformation into an 
animal, at which point, sure enough, the evidence becomes second-hand, 
and the witness has heard the tale from a man who he knew " would not 
speak an untruth." A transformation case which Webster mentions as 
given on first-hand testimony was afterwards confessed to have been an im- 
posture.^ I have found but a single item of independent evidence to the 
phenomenon which is first-hand, in the sense of having been given direct to 
the writer who records it. This is in Spina's Qumstio de Strigibus 
(Rome, 1576, p. 53), and is to this efi"ect : — a cobbler, being annoyed by 
a cat, dealt blows at it, after which an old woman turned out 
to have some hurts which she was not known to have received.^ 
To be quite fair, I should add that Bodin says that one Pierre 
Mamor wrote a little treatise, in which he professed to have 
actually seen a transformation — this being the only case that I have come 
across where a man of sutficient education to write something that was 
printed is even cited as bearing personal testimony to such marvels. 

It is the same with the witches' compacts, and with the nocturnal rides 
and orgies. Putting aside confessions, the evidence is of the flimsiest sort, 
and is copied and re-copied with untiring pertinacity ; while many of the 
miraculous tales are mere country gossip, which do not even pretend to 

1 Sadducismus Triumphatus (London, 1689), p. 387. Glanvil's own theory is that the 
hare was a demon, and that the witch was invisibly hurried along with it, to put her out 
of breath. 

2 A Collection of Curious Tracts relating to Witchcraft, &c. (London, 1838). 

3 Hutchinson, Historical Essay Concerning Witchcraft (London, 1720), p. 60. It is 
an interesting instance of the intimate relation between persecution and the vitality of the 
persecuted doctrines, that imps are little mentioned except in this country, where, as 
Hutchinson says, "the law makes the feeding, suckling, or rewarding of them to be 

■1 The Displaying of Supposed Witchcraft (London, 1677), p. 278. 

^ This story also appears as a treasure in the Compendium Malcficarum (Milan, 
1620). In the only other case given by Spina (who, be it observed, is one of the very 
chief authorities) the evidence was that a witch told two people that certain deceased cats 
had been witches. In the treatment of the old dateless legends, the taste of the narrator 
counted for something. Thus, Olaus Magnus (Historia de Gentihus Scjitentrionalihus, 
Rome, 1555, p. 644) reports that once upon a time an accused person was closely confined 
and watched, till he duly transformed himself. Majolus, telling the story half a century 
later, says that the watchers watched in vain. 


rest on any authority. Holland says, " I cannot hear that any wise man 
or honest man tell us any thing, whicli hath l^een himself either a party 
or a witness of such horrible bargains."^ " What credible witness is there 
brought at any time," says Reginald Scot, " of this their corporal, visil)le, 
and incredible bargain ; saving the confession of some person 
diseased both in body and mind, wilfully made or injuriously constrained l''^ 
As regards transportations, the most superstitious writers have never 
themselves come into anything like close contact with the marvels that 
they record. Habbakuk, and the Sabine peasant who inadvertently 
dispersed an assembly by a pious ejaculation, figure in the records with 
almost unbroken regularity. I am aware of only two cases in which it is even 
rumoured that a person has been actually observed travelling through the 
air f and whenever a " Sabbath " has been seen, or persons have been 
found far from their homes in the morning — presumably because tlie devil, 
who was carrying them back from the revels, dropped them at the sound 
of the Angelus — the witnesses are shepherds or peasants (in one case a 
butler), who have not been cross-examined or even interviewed. Grillandus'* 
says that he had been at first inclined to disbelieve in bodily transporta- 
tions, but that longer experience had changed his view. He then gives a 
couple of hearsay stories about people found in the fields, and a few 
confessions. Binsfeld ^ considers transportation certain, on the strength 
of some village gossip (copied in part from Grillandus). A story quoted 
by Horst from the De Hirco Nocturno of Scherertz, of a young man 
found on the roof towards morning, is apparently a typical case of natural 
somnambulism. The Malleus (Vol. I., p. 171) tells how some young 
men saw a comrade carried off by invisible means ; but the prominent fact 
in the story is that they were having a drinking bout." 

1 A Treatise against Witchcraft (Cambridge, 1590), p. 31. 

- The Discovery of Witchcraft (London, 1584), p. 48. See also his criticism on 
Bodin, p. 23 ; and of. Christian Thomas, Kurtze Lehrsdtze von dem Lastcr der Zauhcrcv 
(1706), p. 31. ■^ 

3 Malleus, Vol. i., p. 175 ; Scot, Op. cit., p. G7. On the general omission of any sort of in- 
vestigation of stories, see Dell' Osa, Die Nichtigkeit der Hexerey (Frankfort, 1766), p. 508. 
^ Tractatus de Sortilecjiis (Lyons, 1536), cap. 7. 

5 Tractatus dcCo7ifessionihusMalcjicarumetSa(jarum[Tvh\es,lb91),l)\i.22Z-^0a,i\dMZ-T:). 

6 See also Spina, O/). cit., p. 108; Remy, Damonolatria (Lyons, 151)5), pp. 112, 115; Glanvil, 
Op. cit., p. 143. The testimony to the effect that the persons reputed to have been at 
the nocturnal orgies had never really left their beds, must have been well known— see, c.r/., 
J. Baptista Porta, Ma;/ia Naturalis (Naples, 1558), p. 102 ; Wier, De Proistiijiis Dcemonum, 
&c. (Basle, 1568), p. 275 ; Godelmann, Tractatus de Mayis, Veneficis, ct Lumiis (Frankfort, 
1591), Lib. ii., p. 39; Remy, Op. cit., p. 110 ; Compendium Maletlcarum, p. 81 ; Menghi, 
Compendio dclV Arte Essorcista (Bologna, 1500), p. 439 ; Elich, Damonovuvtia (Frankfort, 
1607), p. 131 ; Hutchinson, Op. cit., pp. 100, 125 ; but the figure that remained at home 
might, of course, be accounted for as an optical delusion caused by the devil, or as due to 
his direct personation (see Gayot de Pitaval, Causes Celebres, Amsterdam, 1775, p. 153). 
But if the superstition could thus defy direct counter-evidence, we get a fresh idea of the 
feebleness of its own evidential support from the fact that both sceptics and believers seem 
sometimes to have forgotten that the question was one of evidence at all. Thus, G. 
Tartarotti {Del Congresso Notturno dclle Lamie, Venice, 1749) bases his elaborate argument 


In all these matters we may be sure that, had there been better 
eA^idence to record, it would have been recorded. 

Similarly in the trials of witches, where (if we exclude the confessions) 
nearly all the alleged facts can now be accepted and explained on 
physiological and psychological principles, the sameness is so great that, 
after our research has been carried to a certain point, we feel sure that no 
new types will be forthcoming.^ Even the questions and suggestions 
used for entrapping the accused seem to have become stereotyped forms, 
and the very indictments came to be hurried over, as almost taken for 
^ranted.- Spee says that it never even entered into his head to doubt 
the existence of witches, till he studied the judicial evidence.'^ 

On the whole, then, the sweeping statement considered at the 
be<nnning of the foregoing chapter — that in modern societies a more 
or less imposing array of so-called evidence can be obtained for the 
support of any belief or crotchet that is less than an outrage on the 
popular common-sense of the time — is very far from receiving support 
from the history of witchcraft. The stock example which was to prove 
the view goes, in fact, somewhat surprisingly far to disprove it. For 
at no period would the conditions seem to be more favourable 
for a really impressive record of marvellous phenomena than during the 
15th and 16th centuries. The art and literature of the epoch show high 
imaginative development, and a keen appetite for variety and detail ; 
while, at the same tijne, the majority of able and educated minds were not 
fore-armed, in at all the same way as now, by a sense of a priori 
impossibilities and of a uniform Nature, and the belief in the incalculable 
power and malignity of the devil was nearly universal.'* One would have 

entirely on collateral difficulties— as that, if the %vitches really feasted at tlieir meetings, 
they oiight to come back surfeited and happy, instead of hungry and tired ; and that if they 
could escape from their bedrooms they ought to be able to escape from prison. And, similarly, 
the author of the Critichc on this book, (Venice, 1751) refutes Tartarotti by a long chain 
of theoretic reasoning supported by many orthodox authorities, but not by a single fact. 

1 Compare, for instance, the cases in Pitcairn's Criminal Trials of Scotland 
(Edinburgh, 1833) ; Cannaert's Olim Froces des Sorcieres en Belgique (Ghent, 1845) ; 
Rueling's ^ «sr%e einiger merkioiirdigen Hexenprozessen (Gottingen, 1786); Midler, Op. 
cit. See also Reuss, i/« Sorcellerie au KJme et au 17me Siecle, particulihrement en Alsace 
(Paris, 1871), p. 107 ; Haas, Die Hexenprozesse (Tubingen, 1865), p. 80 ; and Soldan, 
Geschichte dcr Hexenprozcssen (Stuttgart, 1880), pp. 385-9. A similar repetition of stock 
stories, and a similar monotony of detail, are observable in the New England records. 

•^ See Haas, Op. cit., p. 79 ; Lihenthal, Op. cit., p. 93 ; Rapp, Die Hexenpjrozesse 
(Innsbruck, 1874), pp. 21-27. Rapp (p. 143) specially remarks on the sameness of the 
confessions as due to the sameness of the judge's questions. 

s C'aut/o C'rmm«?is (Frankfort, 1632), p. 398. 

4 This belief was held alike by the credulous majority and the sensible minority ; and 
it is interesting to see how the latter contrived to make controversial use of it. For 
instance, G. GifFord, an author who is almost modern in his view of the influence of the 
mind on the body, in his Dialogue concerning Witches (London, 1603), p. L, argues for the 
worthlessness of confessions on the ground that "the testimonie of a witch in many thmgs 
at her death is not any other than the testimonie of the divell, because the divell hath 
deceived her, and made her beleeve things which were nothing so." And Hutchinson, 
Op. cit., p. 99, ridicules the test of torture on similar grounds, " since the devil will pretend 
torture when he feels none, and fall down when he needs not." Cf. DAutun, 
L'Incredulite Scavante ct la Credulitt Jgnorante (Lyons, 1671), p. 791. 


expected^ then, that every village would swell the direct testimony to 
transformations and witches' " Sabbaths " ; and that even philosophers 
who regarded the Evil One as an abiding source of sensory delusion might 
occasionally have had tlieir own senses deluded. But we can only take the 
record that we find, and it is as monotonous as it is meagre. Not only do 
the philosophers and their friends seem to have enjoyed complete immunity 
from Satanic visitations, but even in the lower social strata the magical 
incidents (other than those which modern science can accept and explain) 
are extremely few and far between ; and the evidence for them — if the 
word be used with any degree of strictness — is practically non-existent.^ 

I must specially insist on this point ; as my view seems completely 
opposed to that given in the account from which most English 
readers have probably formed their idea of the subject — the brilliant 
first chapter of Mr. Lecky's History of Rationalism. Mr. Lecky's 
treatment appears to me to sufier from the want of two important 
distinctions. In the first place, he does not separate the fact of the wide 
belief in the magical phenomena, and the array of authorities that 
could be cited on the side of that belief, from the evidence for particular 
events — the statements of bo7id fide witnesses. For every grain of 
testimony there is no difficulty in finding a ton of authority.- And in the 
second place, he does not explicitly discriminate between the wholly bizarre 

' Writers of the most opposite views confirm what the records of trials would 
sufficiently prove — that the natural stronghold of witchcraft was among the most ignorant 
and backward sections of the population. Bodin (Op. cit., p. IGS) says that witches were 
commonest in villages. Bernard (Guide to Grand Jurymen in Cases of Witchcraft, 
London, 1627, p. 22) says that ' ' fear and imagination make many witches among countrj- - 
people," and asserts that only those who think much about witches are ever troubled with 
them. Glanvil (Op. cit., p. 498) thinks it an important fact that "all people in the 
country about were fully persuaded " of the reality of one of his cases. D'Autun 
(Op. cit., p. .507) traces the rumour of witchcraft to the imagination of villagers. Tartarotti 
(Op. cit., p. 105) describes the supposed attendants at the " Sabbath " as poor, weak, ill-fed 
creatures. Hutchinson (Op. cit., p. 153) remarks that "country-people are wonderfully 
bent to make the most of all stories of witchcraft." Hir Li. M&ckenzie (The Latcs and 
Customs of Scotland in Matters Criminal, Edinburgh, 1099) says: "Those poor people 
who are ordinarily accused of the crime, are poor ignoiant creatures, and ofttimes women 
who understand not the nature of what they are accused of " ; and Pitcairn speaks of 
convictions "on the slenderest evidence, afforded by the testimony of ignorant and 
superstitious country-people." These extracts might be multiplied to any extent. 

- Thus Bodin's chapter on lycanthropy contains, as Mr. Lecky truly observes, 
" immense numbers of avithorities. " But it is surely important to notice that among the 
chief of them are Homer, Ovid, and Apuleius ; that Virgil is quoted as a frequent 
eye-witness of the phenomenon on the strength of the Sth Eclogue ; and that the only 
instances for which a shadow of evidence is adduced are the following : — Three confessions 
unsupported by any external evidence, one of which (to be just) is said jwt to have been 
extorted ; one confession with the additional piece of evidence reported at third-hand, 
that the accused man had a wound which the witness recognised as one that he had 
inflicted on a wolf ; a rejjort of a prosecution which was abandoned, against some men who 
had wounded some cats ; the eternal story above mentioned of the wood-cutter and 
the three cats ; and Pierre Mamor's testimonj^ also mentioned above. The list is surely 
not an imposing one ; and becomes even less so when we find Bodin quite equally 
impressed \vith the fact that the author of another book, dedicated to an emperor, had 
seen a man, not committing the crime, but condemned for it ; or that someone who had 
been in Livonia reported that the people there were all believers. 


.uid incredible side of the subject, and its scientific or pathological side. 
Of course " belief in witchcraft " may be taken to mean simply a gi>3up or 
system of wrong inferences, drawn under a strong instinct of demonic 
agency ; and in that light the belief can doubtless be treated as a whole — 
as a single though complex superstition. But "witchcraft" may also be 
used, and is frequently used in Mr. Lecky's own pages, to denote the facts 
alleged — for instance, that old women were carried through the air — and 
not the inference drawn, that it was the devil who carried them. And 
this is the meaning that naturally becomes prominent when the question is 
of the evidence for witchcraft — the actual testimony that men's senses bore 
to it. For instance, Mr. Lecky says (pp. 14-16) that "the historical 
evidence establishing the reality of witchcraft is so vast and varied that it 
is impossible to disbelieve it without what, on other subjects, we should 
deem the most extraordinary rashness. ... In our own day, it may 
be said with confidence that it would be altogether impossible for such an 
amount of evidence to accumulate round a conception which had no 
substantial basis in fact. . . . If it were a natural but a very 
improbable fact, our reluctance to believe it would have been completely 
stifled by the multiplicity of the proofs." Here the "evidence" and 
" proofs " clearly refer rather to facts than to inferences ; and it is implied 
in the whole tone of the passage that the facts referred to belong to the 
miraculous class which is now universally discredited. I can, therefore, 
only express my entire dissent from the statements made, at any rate 
until they receive better support than Mr. Lecky supplies. He tells us, 
for instance, that Boguet " is said to have burnt 600 persons, chiefly for 
lycanthropy." If this be true, it still gives us no hint as to what the 
evidence was ; judging by analogy, we should suppose that it consisted in 
confessions, probably made under torture.^ Did 600 persons, or 100, or 
even 10 persons ever bear testimony before Boguet that they had seen a 
man or woman converted into a wolf? If so, it is surely remarkable that 
his own book (Discours des Sorciers, Lyons, 1608) contains (besides a few 
confessions and a few of tlie stock fables) only two lycanthropy cases — the 
evidence for one being that a child who had been injured by a wolf 
declared, in the fever which followed, that the animal's paws were like 
hands ; and for the other that a peasant woman who had been desperately 
frightened by a wolf, said afterwards that its hind feet had had human 
toes. So again, Mr. Lecky (p. 127) seems completely to sympathise with 
Glanvil's statement that the evidence for " the belief of things done by 
persons of despicable power and knowledge, beyond the reach of art and 

1 See Kanoldt, Supplementum Hi curieuser und nutzbnrer Anmerkungen, &c. (Bautzen, 
1728), p. 63. For a proof that even a writer who was rather inclined to ridicule 
the subject could still regard confession under torture as conclusive of this crime see 
Peucer, Commentarius de proecipuis Divinationum Generihus (Hanover, 1607) p. 280. 


ordinary nature," was overwlielming.i And truly Glanvil does speak of 
" the attestation of thousands of eye and ear witnesses, and those not of 
the easily deceivable vulgar only, but of wise and grave discerners." But 
this is a typical example of the very confusion which I am trying to clear 
up. If thousands of wise and grave discerners saw the incredible marvels 
with their own eyes, how is it that in not a single case has the record been 
preserved 1 If on the other hand they saw only the credible marvels — fits 
and the like — and belie red the incredible ones, on extraordinarily feeble 
testimony but under an extraordinarily strong prepossession, in what 
sense can it be asserted that there was then "overwhelming evidence" for 
what would now be denied 1 

In brief, when it is a question of evidence, we should naturally expect 
to find a strongly-marked division between that part of the superstition 
where the wrong inference was drawn from spurious facts, such as 
lycanthropy and the nocturnal orgies, and that part where the wrong 
inference was drawn from genuine facts, such as the phenomena of 
somnambulism or epilepsy. And my contention is that this strongly 
marked division actually exists, and that for the former class of marvels 
there was practically no evidence — no professedly first-hand observation. 
For the latter class, on the other hand, the evidence was naturally 
abundant, however wrongly interpreted. 

To pass now to this latter class — that is to say, to the physiological 
and psychological aspects of the subject. I have said that many 
phenomena, which in their way were sufficiently genuine, were 
misinterpreted, because the sciences which should have explained them 
were still unborn. But though anything like a complete and critical 
explanation of these phenomena was impossible, it is to be remarked that 
the witch-literature presents a constant succession of sensible writers 
(chiefly English and German), who wholly rejected the common view of 
them. As early as the 15th century, and often during the 16th, works 
appeared in which the objective nature of the more bizarre incidents is 
denied, and they are treated as hallucinations; almost invariably, however, 
as hallucinations of a supernatural kind, caused directly by the devil. 2 
This comparatively rational view of the transportations, transformations, 

1 Sadducismus Triumphatus, p. 3. 

- Molitor, De Lamiis (Cologne, 1489), cap. vi. ; Wier, Op. cit., pp. 216, 236, 352, 371 ; 
Daneau, Lcs Sorciers ((.ienevii, 1574), p. 104 ; Remv, Op. cit., Lib. ii. cap. v. ; Saur, Ein 
kurtze Warnunfi, &c. (Frankfort, 1582) ; Uel Rio, Disquisitiones Mariica- (Louvain, 1599), 
Vol. 1., pp. 207-8 ; GifiFord, Op. cit., p. K 3, (but cf. his Discourse of Subtill Practices, Lon- 
don, 1587, p. E, where he attributes to certain of the devil's " counterfeite shewes of a 
bodie " a kind of objectivity); Flagellum Hereticorum Fascinariorum (Frankfort, 1581), p. 5 ; 
Holland, Op. cit., p. 31. Neuwaldt {Exe/iesis Purijationis, Helmstedt, 1585, p. D 6) gives an 
elaborate de.scription of the process. The view could claim the authority of St. Augustine 
{De Civitate Dei, Lib. xviii.). Godelmsmn {Tractatusde 3fa{iis,Venefici.% et Lamiis,FTa.nkioTt, 
1591) is perhaps the only one of the German IGth century writers— and in this respect may 
be bracketed with Scot and Montaigne— who gets distinctly beyond this notion ; but see 

N 2 


tc, was gradually adopted in the course of the 17th century even by 
the credulous writers ; i while the rational writers come to recognise 
more distinctly the influence of terror and excitement on weak minds, 
and hallucination begins to be regarded as a natural phenomenon. 2 
Ady even recognises a case {Candle in the Dark, p. 65) where mere 
entmtnement, apart from terror, was sufficient to produce a hallucination 
in an excitable "subject" — a boy who was employed to assist in calling 
up imps, by imitating the quacking of ducks, having so imposed on a 
minister that, even when shown the cheat, "he would not be persuaded 
but that he saw real ducks squirming about the room." And throughout 
we meet with cases of sensory delusion which may with great probability 
be referred to hypnotic suggestion ; being very similar to the effects which 
are produced in our day on the platform of professional "mesmerists." 
I have mentioned De I'Ancre's instance of the children supposed to have 
been taken to a "Sabbath." Bodin (Op. cit., p. 138) describes how 
Trois-Eschelles made a circle of spectators mistake a breviary for a 
pack of cards ; Boguet {Op. cit., p. 360) mentions the celebrated Escot de 
Parme as having been able to make persons see cards differently to 
what they really were, and mentions another case {Six Advis, p. 89) 
where a witch made a woman see rubbish as money ; Remy and Del Rio 
describe similar feats performed by one Jean de Vaux. It is of course 
impossible to be sure that these were not mere conjuring feats; but 
Del Rio seems to have been awake to that hypothesis, and to have 
thought it quite untenable. 

As specimens of other effects which may fairly be accounted for as 
hypnotic, I may mention the following. Occasionally witches are said 
to have shown insensibility to torture; of which a self- induced trance 

also Valrick Von den Zaiiberern, Hexen, &c. (translated from the Dutch, Cologne, 1576) ; 
Erastus, Deux Dialogues (translated from the Latin, 1579), p. 77<) ; and Scribonms, De 
Samrun Naturd (Marburg, 1588), p. 7(5. It was naturally in connection with the human 
organism that the idea of Satanic control survived longest. The devil's power over the 
external world— shown, e.a., in raising tempests— was as completely believed in as his 
power over men, by the ablest writer of the Middle Ages ; but on this question Professor 
Huxley does not stand further from St. Thomas Aquinas than did Wier (Op. cit., p. 264). 

1 E.r/., King James I., Z>femo/ioto;/Vc (London, 1603), p. 40 ; Nynauld. Dela Lycanthropie 
(Paris, 1615), p. 20; Glanvil, Op. cit., p. 507. As to transportations, it remained a very 
favourite compromise that they were occasionally genuine, but «*• a rule illusory ; se^, for 
instance, the Corollaria to the Disputatio de Fascinatione, held at Coburg in 1764. For a 
proof that the possibility of a purely subjective hallucination had as little dawned on 
Glanvil in the 17th century as on Michael Psellus in the 11th, see ^ndd. Triumph., p. 405 ; 
where the only alternative to supposing an apparition to have been "Edward Avon's ghost " 
is to suppose it a "ludicrous daemon." U'Autun (L'Incrtdulitt- Scavante, &c.), an author 
whose desire to be just to both sides gives him a sort of half-way position, still believes, 
in 1671, that the witch or the devil, and not the brain of the percipient, is responsible 
for hallucinations (jjp. 65, 870). It is more remarkable that Hutchinson, an eminently 
sensible writer, who belonged to a later date, still seems to believe [Op. cit., p. 106) that 
the devil assumed the form of the delusive image. 

- Bekker, De Betovcrde Wereld (Leewarden, 1G91), p. 247, in the German translation 
of 1781. 


affords tlie readiest explanation. ^ There are occasional cases of inhibition, 
of a sort to which we hav'e abundant modern parallels in connection with 
hypnotism, but none, as far as I am aware, except in that connection. ^ 
Remy {Op. cif., p. 221) gives an apparent example of the inability of the 
" subject " to drop an object which his controller insists on his holding. 
In Dr. Lamb Revived, or Witchcraft Condemned, (London, 1653), p. 20, a 
case of the production of hypnotic sleep is described by an eye-witness. 
The description in Glanvil (Oj^. cit., p. 342) of a "subject" who showed 
the well-known symptoms of muscular rigidity, and of rapport with a 
single person, is again strongly suggestive of hypnotic trance. The 
rappoi-t, shown in exclusive sensitiveness to the witch's touch or approach, 
reappears in Saint Andre's Lettres au Sujet de la Magie (Paris, 1725), 
p. 213 ; and in The Tryalof Bridget Bishop at Salem in 1692 ; '■' where also 
the " subjects " are described as having displayed the phenomenon of 
imitation of the witch's postures and gestures. The " subject's " craving 
to get to the witch is another significant feature. (See above, p. 87, 
note.) We should probably have had a much larger amount of definite 
hypnotic evidence had such a thing as hypnotism been recognised at the 
time — observations made under the influence of wrong theories being 
naturally one-sided and defective. 

With respect to demoniacal possession, we find a progress of opinion 
to some extent parallel with that observed in the treatment of hallucin- 
ations ; but the belief in the Satanic agency was here naturally more 
tenacious ; and where the actual possession was doubted, the investigators 
often fell into the opposite error of concluding that the victims could 
have nothing the matter with them, and must be consciously shamming.* 

^ Wier, Op. cit., 482; Scot, Op. cit., p. 22, quoting Grillandns ; Del Rio, Op. cit., Vol. 
ii., p. 66 ; Le Loyer, Livre des Spectres, chap. 12 ; Hexen-processe aus dem 17en 
Jahrhundcrt (Hanover, 1862), p. 78. The phenomenon was much discussed as the 
"maleficium taciturnitatis. " The same has, of course, been recorded of religious martyrs, 
and has been ascribed to ecstasy ; but we have no reason to suppose the mental and 
spiritual condition of the supposed witches to have been such as would make that term 
applicable ; and it is difficult to see why merely hysterical anaesthesia should supervene at 
the critical moment. It is, however, probably to hysteria that we should attribute what- 
ever of truth there may have been in the idea of the devil's mark — the alleged insensibility 
of restricted areas of the body. (See Richet, Op. cit., p. 3()4.) 

- A case in the Pathologia Dcemoniaca of J. Caspar Westphal (Leipzig, 1707), p. 48, 
which the author seems to have personally observed, closely resembles some of the 
cases given above in Chap. iii. The mere inhibition of utterance, either produced in the 
victim by the supposed persecutor's presence [A Philosophical Endeavour in the Defence of 
the Being of Witches and Apparitions, London, 1668, p. 129), or by the idea of it (G. More, 
A True Discourse, &c., London, 1600, p. 20; Witchcraft further Displai/ed, London, 1712, 
p. 7) ; or in the witch herself when attempting to repeat the Lord's Prayer (Glanvil, Op. 
cit., p. 377), may, of course, be sufficiently accounted for by hysteria or imagination. 

3 Mather, Wonders of the Invisible World (Boston, 1693), p. 106. 

* See, for instance. Dr. Harsnet's Discovert/ of the Fraudulent Pi-actices of John 
Darrell, Ji.A. (London, l.'i99), and the controversy to which it gave rise. But of course, 
a certain number of cases were undoubtedly fraudulent ; see The Disclosing of a Late 
Counterfeiited Possession, &c. (London, 1574.) It seems to have depended verj' much on 
accidental circumstances whether hysterical girls were pitied as victims or denounced 
as cheats. 


Webster {Op. cit., p. 248) is, perhaps, the earliest English writer who 
insists on purely natural causes as sufficient to explain possession. As 
regards the whole question of the influence of the reputed witches on 
health, it is here probably that we should have had the most distinct indi- 
cations of hypnotic agency had the idea of hypnotism been there to colligate 
the facts. 1 And much must, no doubt, be set down to the morbid craving 
for notoriety which is now one of the best known symptoms of hysteria. 
But as regards the larger number of the alleged phenomena, the rational 
inference — that the effects were due to imagination or fright — might, as 
we now see, have been drawn from the evidence of even the most credu- 
lous writers. Bodin, for instance, insists on the necessity of faith on the 
part of the sufferer, '-^ and reports not a single case of curing where the 
witch was not actually present.- His records, and those of many 
others, are precisely parallel to what our newspapers describe of the 
"mind-cures" in Boston and Bethshan, and might be accepted to-day 
without difficulty by orthodox medical opinion.-* Cases where there was 
rapid improvement in the victim's health on the condemnation of the 
supposed witch come into the same category.^ Similarly in cases of 
injurious effects- we constantly hear that the sufferer had been touched, 
or at the very least fixedly looked at, by the supposed witch.^ Great 
stress was laid on the confession of the celebrated Gaufridi that 
he had breathed on his numerous victims.' And if we bear in mind the 
prevalent belief that the witch commanded the full powers of the 
devil, we need not refuse to connect the threats and angry words of 
unpopular old women with a certain proportion, at any rate, of the 

1 On the beneficial effects of the supposed witch's touch and strokings, see, for 
instance, the sensible Cotta, The InfaUMe, True and Assured Witch, (London, 1G25), p. 138; 
Deodat Lawson, Further Account of the Trials of the New Enfiland Witches (London, lb9ii), 
p 8 • Lamberg, Criminal Verfahren (Nuremberg, 1835), p. 27 ; Miscellany of the Spalding 
Club (Aberdeen, 1841), Vol. i., pp. 92, 119. Even in the present century mesmeric cures 
have been attributed to the devil. (See Lecky, Op. cit., p. 109.) 

= Cf. A Pleasant Treatise of Witches (London, 1673), p. 109; Remy, Op. cit., 
p. 348. 

3 Bodin has a firm belief that a witch could cause death by a word ; but character- 
istically adduces no evidence. He is also persuaded that the disease which is removed 
from one person must be transferred to another— a view which he supports by a single 
supposed instance. 

•* See, for example, Prof. ii. Buchanan's paper on " Healing by Faith " in the Lancet, 
for 1885, Vol. i., p. 1117. Cf. Dell' Osa, Op. cit., pp. 29, 30. 

5 See, for instance, Mackenzie, Op. cit., p. .50 ; and the account of Dorothy Durant's 
restoration when the verdict was given against Amy Duny, m the Tryal of Witches at 
the Assizes held at Bury St. Edmunds, before Sir Matthew Hale (London, 1082). 

« Remy, Op. cit., p. 312 ; Del Rio, Op. cit.. Vol. i., p. 34; De I'Ancre, Ulncredulitd 
ct Miscriance du SortiUge (Paris, 1622), p. 108 ; Goldschmidt, Verworffener Hexen-und 
Zauber -Advocat (Hamburg, 1705), p. 454 ; Pitcairn, Op. cit., passim. 

- Michaelis, Histoirc Admirable (Paris, 1613), Part II., p. 118 ; Calmet, Traite svr 
Ics Apparitions (Senones, 1759), Vol. i., pp. 37, 138. See also Westphal, O}}. cit., p. 48 ; 
and the history of Hartley, the kissing witch, in G. More s True Discourse. 


illnesses which are so freely testified to as having soon after supervened.' 
It must also be borne in mind that the reputed witches possibly included 
in their ranks a fair sprinkling of tlie amateur medical practitioners of 
the time.- This is a feature of the witch-history which is more prominent 
in foreign than in English records. In Cannaert {Oj)- cit.) and Reuss 
(Op. cit.) constant mention is made of bewitched powders ; and in the 
foreign trials generally, more stress is laid on poisoning than on 
anything else. Reuss is of opinion that the hallucinations were in many 
cases the result of drugs. At the same time we find that, among the 
credulous writers of the witch-epoch, a witch and a poisoner were often 
regarded as synonymous ; and the stories of the powders may have 
rested on much the same evidence as those of the imps. As far as I 
know, no one ever deposed to having seen the drug administered.-' 

The above slight sketch may serve to suggest that lear7ied opinion on 
the question of witchcraft has a history of its own of a rather complex 
kind ; and some recognition of this seems necessary to supplement the 
view of the decline of the belief so forcibly set forth by Mr. Lecky. As 
regards the place of witchcraft in the jmpular regard, the effect of the 
advancing spirit of rationalism was no doubt more unconscious and 
indiscriminate — undermining the superstition without exactly attacking 
it in detail ; putting the whole subject, so to speak, out of court, not 
through a reasonable refutation of its claims, but through a general 
change of instinct and mood in respect of miraculous events. But 
professed students still felt it their business to analyse the phenomena, and 
exercised their minds on the various points in turn. And the consequence 
is that the works of the abler writers present us with a curious and 
gradually-shifting medley of a priori convictions and scientific reasonings 
and of beliefs and disbeliefs, often oddly inconsistent and oddly 
harmonised in the same mind. Binsfield, who firmly believes in the 
" Sabbaths," draws the line at the dancing with Diana and Herodias ; 
because as for Diana, there is no such person, and Herodias, though 
existing in hell, is a soul only and not a woman.'* Boguet thinks that 
witches pursue and eat children, but that they are not really wolves. 
Majolus and Nynauld believe in transportations, but not in transforma 
tions. Wier pours scorn alike on lycanthropy and on the night-rides; but he 
has not the slightest doubt that the devil can transport people, and that he 

^ Mackenzie, Op. cit, \>. 4S ; D'Autun, Op. cit., p. 480; Mi.fccHani/ of the Spalding 
Club, Vol. i., pp. 84, 131,144; Pitcaini, Op. cit., jxtssim. Wagstaffe (The Question of 
Witchcraft Debated, London, 1(571) seems to be the first author who expressly recognises 
that, in questions of coincidence, allowance must be made for the operation of chance. 

- See P. Christian, Histoire de la Magic (Paris, 1870), p. 400 ; he gives quite an 
elaborate witaheii' pharmacopa'ia. Cf. Sir A. C. Lyall, Asiatic Studies, p. 85. 

3 See Saint Andre, Op. cit., p. 285. 

* Op. cit., p. 349. 


does prevent his votaries from feeling torture.^ Neither he nor Cotta 
has grasped the idea that hysterical girls can play tricks, and produce 
from their mouths objects which they have previously placed there.^ 
Perkins considers that such effects as transformation, and injury by 
the mere power of the eye, quite transcend the devil's range ; ^ but 
this view in no way shakes his faith in the reality of magical powers. 
Meric Casaubon, though so far emancipated as to surmise that " super- 
natural" things may in time be explained, yet writes expressly to 
confute "the Sadducism of these times," disapproves of Scot, and can 
say nothing harsher of Bodin and Remy than that they were " in 
some things perchance more credulous than I should be." ■* His 
impartiality is quite tantalising. Thus, as regards certain alleged cures, 
he presents us with four alternatives, quoted from Franciscus a Victoria, 
from which we may suit ourselves : — either the healers cheat ; or they 
heal by the power of the de^dl ; or by the grace of God ; or by some 
specific natural gift. D'Autun, a writer who wholly repudiates the 
extremer marvels, and who is remarkable for his humanity, yet cannot 
resist the evidence of confession, which a modern writer regards 
with mingled scorn and indignation.-^ Even in the 18th century, 
Acxtelmeir, who does not lack sense, and who attributes the midnight 
revels to dream, yet cannot shake off the effect on his mind of the feeble 
stories about the persons found in the fields in the morning ; ^ and a 
little earlier Wagstaffe, one of the most open-minded of all the writers on 
the subject — who expressly attributes much of the deception to "want of 
knowledge in the art of physic " — is yet convinced that there were genuine 
cases of wounding the witch at a distance by striking at her apparition.'^ 
Bayle and La Bruyere, as Mr. Lecky has observed, held a similar uncertain 

For any wide historical analysis of the grounds of opinion and of 
certainty in the human mind, no literature could better repay detailed 
study than that which these brief citations illustrate. But enough 
has perhaps been said for my present purpose — which is merely to show 
that, if the gradual tendency of the great body of public opinion on the 
subject of witchcraft was to put aside evidential questions, and simply to 

1 Op. cit., pp. 236, 238, 242. Cf. Cooper, Miisteryof Witchcraft (London, 1617), p. 258. 
- A case where the fraud was exposed is given by Hutchinson, Op. cit., p. 283. 
3 A Discourse of the Damned Art of Witchcraft (Cambridge, 1608), pp. 33, 140. 

* Of Credulity and Incredulity (title of the first edition, London. 1668), pp. 28, 147, 169. 
5 Op. cit., p. 164. 

* Misanthropus Audax (Augsburg, 1710), pp. 32, 36. 

7 Op. cit., pp. 118, 114. Of the more bizarre ideas, this was perhaps the one that 
lingered longest among rational writers. The author of A Philosophical Endeavour, &c., 
p. 128, Glanvil (Op. cit., p. 34), and Mather (Op. cit., p. 106), have, of course, no doubt 
on the subject. A case in which fraud was afterwards discovered is given by Thacker, 
Essay on Demonology (Boston, 1831), p. 107. 


turn away from the phenomena as incredible and absurd, there was in tlie 
reflective and literary world a strong tendency to cling, wherever possible, 
to tradition and it priori conceptions, and for that purpose to press to the 
very utmost such items of evidence as were to be found. Had evidence 
and inference, necessarily and throughout, gone hand in hand, and had the 
abnormal occurrences all been of a piece — all of that bizarre and incredible 
kind which Mr. Lecky's treatment too much implies — then critical as well 
as uncritical minds might have drifted away from them in the silent and 
indifferent way which he depicts. But many of the abnormalities were far 
too real and tangible to be thus drifted away from ; and it often happened 
that these, through the wrong inferences to which they gave rise, lent a 
sort of unsound support to the more incredible and the worse-attested 
incidents. Thus, one author after another, in the gradual recession to the 
rational standpoint, draws and defends what, to us now, looks like an 
arbitrary line between fact and fable ; but the efiect of this more critical 
treatment was, on the whole, to keep in view the large mass of phenomena 
which science can still accept as fact, and some of which, indeed — notably 
those of hysteria, hystero-epilepsy, and hypnotism — are only now beginning 
to make their full importance felt. And thus the position taken up in the 
foregoing chapter is maintained. The part of the case for witchcraft which 
is now an exploded superstition had never, even in its own day, any real 
evidential foundation ; while the part which had a real evidential foundation 
is now more firmly established than ever. It is with the former part that 
we would directly contrast, and with the latter that we might in some 
respects compare, our own evidential case for telepathy. 




§ 1. We now come to the actual evidence for spontaneous telepathy. 
As has been explained, the proof is cumulative, and its strength can 
only be truly estimated by a patient study of a very large mass 
of testimony. But to wade through a number of the cases is far 
from an attractive task. They are very unexciting — monotonous 
amid all their variety — as different from the Mysteries of Udolpho 
as from the dignified reports of a learned society, and far more likely 
to provoke slumber in the course of perusal than to banish it after- 
wards. And for the convenience of those who desire neither to toil 
nor to sleep, it will be well to disregard logical arrangement, and to 
present at once a few preliminary samples. This chapter, therefore, 
will include a small batch of narratives which may serve as types of 
the different classes of telepathic phenomena, while further illustrat- 
ing various important evidential points. At the present stage it will, 
no doubt, be open to anyone who accepts the facts in these cases as 
essentially correct to regard every one of the coincidences as acci- 
dental. The reasoning that will prevent this conclusion must still 
be taken on trust ; it could not be given now without delaying the 
concrete illustrations till the reader would be weary of waiting for 
them. Nor would it be profitable at this place to enter fully into the 
principles of the classification, which can only be made clear in con- 
nection with the evidence. I will therefore sketch here the main 
headings, without comment, trusting to the further development of 
the work to justify the arrangement adopted. 

We find our most distinct line of classification in the nature of 
the percipient's impression. This at once divides the cases into two 
great families — those (A) where the impression is sensory and exter- 
nalised, and those (B) where it is not sensory or externalised. In 
the first division the experience is a percept or quasi-percept — some- 


thing which the person seems to see, hear, or feel, and which he 
instinctively refers to the outer world. In the second division, the 
impression is of an inward or ideal kind — either a mental image, or 
an emotion, or a mere blind impulse towards some sort of action. 
There is also a small group of cases (C) which it is not easy to assign 
to either division — those, namely, where the experience of the per- 
cipient is sensory, without being an external-seeming affection ot 
sight, hearing, or touch — for instance, a physical feeling of illness or 
malaise. This small group will be most conveniently treated with the 
emotional division, into which it shades. Further, each of these 
divisions is represented in sleeping as well as in waking life, so that 
dreams form a comprehensive class (D) of their own ; and the 
externalised division is also strongly represented in a region of 
experience which is on the borderland (E) between complete sleep 
and complete normal wakefulness. Lastly, there are two peculiarities, 
attaching to certain cases in all or nearly all the above divisions, 
which are of sufficient importance to form the basis of two separate 
classes. The tirst of these is the reciprocal class (F), where each of 
the persons concerned seems to exercise a telepathic influence on the 
other ; and the second is the collective class (G), where more per- 
cipients than one take part in a single telepathic incident. 

§ 2. Now the logical starting-point for the following inquiry will 
naturally be found in the cases which present most analogy to the 
results of experimental thought-transference. All those results, it will 
be remembered, were of the non-externalised type. I shall therefore 
start with inward impressions, ideal and emotional, and shall advance, 
through dreams — where each of us has, so to speak, an outer as well 
as an inner world of his own — to the " borderland " and waking im- 
pressions which seem to fall on the senses in an objective way from 
the outer world that is common to us all. 

But though the impressions received by the percipient in the 
experimental cases had no extern(d quality, a good many of them 
were distinctly sensory — one important branch being transference of 
pains. And if the parallel between experimental and spontaneous 
effects be a just one, we might fairly expect to find cases where a 
localised pain has been similarly transferred from one person to another 
at a distance. I will open this preliminary batch of narratives with 
just such a case, the simplest possible specimen of group C, and as 
pure an instance of transference of sensation, unattended by any idea 


or image, as can well be conceived. The parties concerned are Mr. 
Arthur Severn, the distinguished landscape-painter, and his wife ; 
and the narrative was obtained through the kindness of Mr. Ruskin. 
Mrs. Severn says :— u Brantwood, Coniston. 

"October 27th, 1883. 

(17) '' I woke up with a start, feeling I had liad a hard blow on my 
mouth, and with a distinct sense that I had been cut, and was bleeding under 
my upper lip, and seized my pocket-handkerchief, and held it (in a little 
pushed lump) to the part, as I sat up in bed, and after a few seconds, when 
I removed it, I was astonished not to see any blood, and only then realised 
it was impossible anything could have struck me there, as I lay fast asleep 
in bed, and so I thought it was only a dream ! — but I looked at my watch, 
and saw it was seven, and finding Arthur (my husband) was not in the 
room, I concluded (riglitly) that he must have gone out on the lake for an 
early sail, as it was so tine. 

" I then fell asleep. At breakfast (half-past nine), Arthur came in 
rather late, and I noticed he rather purposely sat farther away from me 
than usual, and every now and then put his pocket-handkerchief furtively 
up to liis lip, in tlie very way I had done. I said, 'Arthur, why are you 
doing that ] ' and added a little anxiously, ' I know you have hurt yourself ! 
but I'll tell you why afterwards.' He said, ' Well, when I was sailing, a 
sudden squall came, throwing the tiller suddenly round, and it struck me 
a bad blow in the mouth, under the upper lip, and it has been bleeding a 
good deal and won't stop.' I then said, ' Have you any idea what o'clock 
it was when it happened 1 ' and he answered, ' It must have been about 

" I then told what had happened to me, much to his surprise, and all 
who were with us at breakfast. 

" It happened here about three years ago at Brantwood, to me. 

" JoAX R. Severn." 
In reply to inquiries Mrs. Severn writes : — 

" There was no doubt about my starting up in bed wide awake, as I 
stuffed my pocket-handkerchief into my mouth, and held it pressed under 
my upper lip for some time before removing it to ' see the blood,' — and 
was much surprised that there was none. Some little time afterwards I 
fell asleep again. I believe that when I got up, an hour afterwards, the 
impression was scill vividly in my mind, and that as I was dressing I did 
look under my lip to see if there was any mark." 

Mr. Severn's account, dated Nov. 1.5, 1883, is as follows : — 

" Early one summer morning, I got up intending to go and sail on the 
lake ; whether my wife heard me going out of the room I don't know ; she 
probably did, and in a half-dreamy state knew where I was going. 

" When I got down to the water I found it calm, like a mirror, and 
remember thinking it quite a shame to disturb the wonderful reflections of 
the opposite shore. However, I soon got afloat, and as there was no wind, 
contented myself with pulling up my sails to dry, and putting my boat in 
order. Soon some slight air came, and I was able to sail about a mile 
below Brantwood, then the wind dropped, and I was left becalmed for 


h;ilf-an-hour or so, when, on looking up to the head of the lake, I saw a 
dark blue line on the water. At first I couldn't make it out, but soon saw 
that it must be small waves caused by a strong wind coming. I got my 
boat as ready as I could, in the short time, to receive this gust, but some- 
how or other she was taken aback, and seemed to spin round when the 
wind struck lier, and in getting out of the way of the boom I got my head 
in the way of the tiller, which also swung round and gave me a nasty blow 
in the mouth, cutting my lip rather badly, and having become loose in the 
rudder it came out and went overboard. With my mouth bleeding, the 
mainsheet more or less round my neck, and the tiller gone, and the boat 
in confusion, I could not help smiling to think how suddenly I had been 
humbled almost to a wreck, just when I thought I was going to be so 
clever ! However, I soon managed to get my tiller, and, with plenty of 
wind, tacked back to Brantwood, and, making ray boat snug in the harbour, 
walked up to the house, anxious of course to hide as much as possible what 
had happened to my mouth, and getting another handkerchief walked 
into the breakfast-room, and managed to say something about having been 
out early. In an instant my wife said, ' You don't mean to say you have 
hurt your mouth 1 ' or words to that effect. I then explained what had 
liappened, and was surprised to see some extra interest on her face, and 
still more surprised when she told me she had started out of her sleep 
thinking she had received a blow in the mouth ! and that it was a few 
minutes past seven o'clock, and wondered if my accident had happened 
at the same time ; but as I had no watch with me I couldn't tell, though, 
on comparing notes, it certainly looked as if it had been about the same 
time. " Arthur Severn." 

Considering what a vivid thing pain often is, it might seem likely 
that this form of telepathy, if it exists, would be comparatively 
common, in comparison with the more ideal or intellectual forms 
which are connected with the higher senses. This, however, is not so. 
It is conceivable, of course, that instances occur which go unnoticed. 
For, apart from injury, even a sharp pain is soon forgotten ; and 
unless the copy reproduced the original with excruciating fidelity, a 
sudden pang might be referred to some ordinary cause, and the 
coincidence would never be noted. We, however, can only go by what 
is noted. I mentioned that even in experimental trials the 
phenomenon has been little observed except with hypnotised 
" subjects " ; and on the evidence we must allow its spontaneous 
appearance to be even rarer. The stock instance is that of the brothers, 
Louis and Charles Blanc, the latter of whom professed to have ex- 
perienced a strong physical shock at the time that his brother was 
felled in the streets of Paris by (as was supposed) some Bonapartist 
bully.^ But this is a third-hand story at best; and the above is our 

' I received this version of the incident from Mrs. Crawford, of 60, Boulevard de 
Courcelles, Paris, to v^hom Louis Blanc narrated it in 1871, in a long and intimate tHc-d- 
tetc. Charles made his appearance in Paris, unexpectedly, some days after the event, 


only first-hand instance where the pain was of an unusual kind, and 
was very exactly localised. It is specially for cases of this sort — 
most interesting to science, but with neither pathos nor dignity to 
keep them alive — that the chance of preservation will, we trust, be 
improved by the existence of a classified collection, where they may 
at once find their proper place. 

What has been said of pains applies, niiitatis mutandis, to all 
affections of the lower senses. In the first place, it is the exception and 
not the rule for the spontaneous transferences to reproduce in the per- 
cipient the exact sensation of the agent (p. Ill); and, in the second 
place, such reproduction (or at any rate the evidence for it) seems almost 
wholly confined to the higher senses of sight and hearing. Thus, though 
we found that transference of tastes had been a very successful branch 
of the experimental work, we have no precisely analogous record in 
the spontaneous class. The nearest approach is a case which concerned 
the sense of smell, but where there was no direct transference of 
sensation as such. The case is, however, worth quoting here on 
another ground, as illustrating one of the evidential points of the last 
chapter — namely, that the strength of any evidence, in the sense of 
the assurance which it produces that the facts are correctly reported, 
is a very different thing from its strength as a contribution to the 
proof of telepathy. Thus, no one probably will care to dispute the 
facts in the following narrative : but the coincidence recorded is little, 
if at all, more striking than most of us occasionally encounter ; and 
recourse to the telepathic explanation can only be justified by our 
knowledge that the two persons concerned have, on other occasions, 
given very much more conclusive signs of their power of super- 
sensuous communication.^ The Rev. P. H. Newnham, of Maker 
Vicarage, Devonport, writes to us : — 

alleging as the reason of his visit the anxiety which the shock bad caused him; and his 
brother at any rate, who knew him thoroughly, accepted this as the true reason. The case 
affords an interesting instance of the transformations which a story that becomes at all 
celebrated is sure to undergo. See, e.g., A Memoir of C. Maync Young (1871), 
pp. 341-2, where the injury is localised as a stab in the arm, and the parts of the brothers 
are inverted. The lady who gave the account to the subject of the memoir professed to 
have heard it from Louis Blanc, at Dr. Ashburner's dinner-table ; and also to have been 
shown the scar on Charles Blanc's arm after dinner I A parallel case— where the 
absent husband was struck by a ball in the forehead, and the wife felt the wound 
— is recorded by Borel, Historiaruvi et Obi^ervationum Medicophysicarnm Centitrice 
iv. (Paris, 16.56), Cent, ii., obs. 47; but only on the authority of "persons worthy 
of credit." This is the earliest record that I can recall of a non-externalised telepathic 
impression of at all a definite sort. 

■' See pp. 63-9. Mr. Newnham has further told us that coincidences of thought of a 
more or less striking kind occur to himself and his wife as matters of daily experience. But 
to differentiate these from the numerous domestic cases which pure accident will account 
for (Chap, vi., § 1), a written record would have to be accurately kept from day to day. 


"January 26th, 188.5. 

(18) "In March, 1861, I was living at Houghton, Hants. My wife 
was at the time contined to the house, by delicacy of tlie lungs. One day, 
walking through a lane, I found the tirst wild violets of the spring, and 
took them home to her. 

" Early in April I was attacked with a dangerous illness ; and in June 
left the place. I never told my wife exactly where I found the violets, 
noi*, for the reasons explained, did I ever walk with her past the place 
where they grew, for many years. 

"In November, 1873, we were staying with friends at Houghton ; and 
myself and wife took a walk up the lane in question. As we passed by 
the place, the recollection of those early violets of 12| years ago flashed 
upon my mind. At the usual interval of some 20 or 30 seconds my wife 
remarked, ' It's very curious, but if it were not impossible, I should declare 
that I could smell violets in the hedge.' 

" I had not spoken, or made any gesture or movement of any kind, to 
imdicate what L was thinking of. Neither had my memory called up the 
perfume. All that I thought of was the exact locality on the hedge bank ; 
my memory being exceedingly minute for locality." 

Mr. Newnham's residence at Houghton lasted only a few months, and 
with the help of a diary he can account for nearly every day's walking and 
work. " My impression is," he says, "that this was the first and only 
time that I explored this particular ' drive ' ; and I feel certain that Mrs. 
Newnham never saw the spot at all until November, 1873. The hedges 
had then been grubbed, and no violets grew there." 

The following is Mrs. Newnham's account : — 

"May 28th, 1885. 

" I perfectly remember our walking one day in November, 1873, at 
Houghton, and suddenly finding so strong a scent of violets in the air that 
I remarked to my husband, ' If it were not so utterly impossible, I should 
declare I smelt violets ! ' Mr. Newnham then reminded me of his bringino- 
me the first violets in the spring of 1861, and told me that this was just 
about the spot where he had found them. I had quite forgotten the 
circumstance till thus reminded." 

§ 3. We may now pass to illustrations of Class B — the class of 
ideal and emotional impressions. The following is a well-attested case 
of the transference of an idea. It was sent to us, in 1884, by our 
friend, the Rev. J. A. Macdonald, who wrote :— 

"19, Heywood Street, Cheetham, Manchester. 

(19) " When I was in Liverpool, in 1872, I heard from my friend, the 
late Rev. W. W. Stamp, D.D., a remarkable story of tlie faculty of second 
sight possessed by the Rev. John Drake, of Arbroath, in Scotland. I 
visited Arbroath in 1874, and recounted to Mr. Drake the story of Dr. 
Stamp, which Mr. Drake assented to as correct, and he called his faculty 
' clairvoyance.' Subsequently, in 1881, I had the facts particularly verified 
by Mrs. Hutcheon, who was herself the subject of this clairvoyance of Mr. 


" When the Rev. John Drake was minister of the Wesleyan Church at 
Aberdeen, Miss Jessie Wilson, tlie daughter of one of the principal lay 
office bearers in that church, sailed for India, to join the Rev. John 
Hutcheon, M. A., tlien stationed as a missionary at Bangalore, to whom she 
was under engagement to be married. Mr. Drake, one morning, came 
down to Mr. Wilson's place of business and said, ' Mr. Wilson, I am happy 
to be able to inform you that Jessie has had a pleasant voyage, and is now 
safely arrived in India.' Mr. Wilson said, ' How do you know that, Mr. 
Drake? ' to which Mr. Drake replied, ' [ saw it.' ' But,' said Mr. Wilson, 
' it cannot be, for it is a fortnight too soon. The vessel has never made 
the voyage within a fortnight of the time it is now since Jessie sailed.' 
To this Mr. Drake replied : ' Now you jot it down in your book that John 
Drake called this morning, and told you that Jessie has arrived in India 
this morning after a pleasant voyage.' Mr. Wilson accordingly made the 
entry, which Mrs. Hutcheon assures me she saw, when she returned home, 
and that it ran thus : ' Mr. Drake. Jessie arrived India morning of June 
5th, I860.' This turned out to have been literally the case. The ship had 
fair winds all the way, and made a quicker passage by a fortnight than 
ever she had made before." 

The above account was sent by Mr. Macdonald to Mr. Drake for veri- 
fication, and the following reply was received from the Rev. Crawshaw 
Hargreaves, of the Wesleyan Manse, Arbroath : — 

" April 29th, 1885. 

" My Dear Sir, — Mr. Drake is sorry your communication of the 2nd 
inst. has been so long unanswered ; but two days after receiving it he had 
a paralytic seizure, which has not only confined him to bed, but taken from 
him the use of one side. 

" He now desires me to answer your inquiries, and to say that the 
account, which you enclosed and which he now returns to you, is correct, 
except that he has no recollection of ever calling it ' clairvoyance.' It was 
neither a ' dream,' nor a ' vision,' but an impression that he received 
between the hours of 8 and 10 in the morning, when his mind was as clear 
as ever it was, an impression which he believes was given him by God for 
the comfort of the family. Moreover this impression was so clear and 
satisfactory to himself that when Mr. Wilson said, ' It cannot be,' Mr. 
Drake replied, 'You jot it down,' as warmly as if his statement of any 
ordinary circumstances had been doubted by a friend. 

" Mr. Drake hopes these particulars will be enough for your purpose. — 
Believe me, dear sir, yours very truly, u q Hargreaves." 

The following is Mrs. Hutcheon's account of the incident, given 
quite independently : — 

" Weston-super-Mare. 

"February 20th, 1885. 

"The facts are simply these. I sailed for India on March 3rd, 1860, 
in the 'Earl of Hardwicke,' a good, but slow, sailing-vessel. About 16 
weeks were usually allowed for the voyage, so that we were not due in 
Madras till about the middle of June. Our voyage, however, being an 
uncommonly rapid one, we cast anchor in the roads of Madras on the 
morning of June 5th, taking our friends there quite by surprise. 


" On this same morning, my former pastor, an able and much esteemed 
Wesleyan minister, called on my father at an unusually early hour, when 
the following conversation passed : — 

" ' Why, Mr. D., what takes you abi'oad at this early hour ? ' 

" ' I have come to bring you good news, Mr. W. Your daughter Jessie 
has reached India this morning, safe and well.' 

" ' That would indeed be good news, if we could believe it; but you forget 
that the ship is not due at Madi'as before the middle of June. Besides, 
how could you get to know that 1 ' 

'"Such, however, is the fact,' replied Mr. D., and seeing my father's 
incredulous look, he added : ' You do not believe what I say, Mr. W., but 
just take a note of this date.' 

" To satisfy him, my father wrote in his memo, book : ' Rev. J. D. and 
Jessie. Tuesday, 5th June, I860.' 

" In due time, tidings confirming Mr. D.'s statement arrived, greatly to 
the astonishment of my friends. He, however, manifested no surprise, but 
simply remarked, ' Had I not known it for a fact, I certainly should not 
have told you of it.' 

" These particulars I received by letter at the time, and on our return 
home 7 years later, we heard it from my father's own lips. He is no longer 
with us, but the above are the plain facts as he gave them, and the little 
memo, in his handwriting, which he gave me as a curiosity, lies before me now. 

"Jessie Hutcheon." 

In answer to inquiries, Mrs. Hutcheon adds : — 

" March 23rd. 

" I felt inclined to smile at the idea that I could possibly be mistaken 
as to a date so memorable in my life's history, and immediately preceding 
my marriage. However, to render assurance doubly sure, I have referred 
to both my husband's diary and my own, in each of which my landing in 
India on the 5th of June has an important place. 

" The entry made by my husband is as follows : ' N.B. — 5th June, 1860 ; 
a memorable clay ! The ' Hardwicke' has arrived. What a quick voyage! 
Miss Wilson and mission party well.' " 

[Mr. Macdonald tells us that he believes Mr. Drake had many such 
experiences, but that he found him so reticent that he despaired of 
getting an account of them from him. And Mr. Drake's death has now 
made the attempt impossible.] 

As regards the facts here, the narrative will probably be accepted as 
trustworthy. As regards the inference that may be drawn, the case 
is eminently of a sort where the character of the professing percipient 
(in other points than the mere desire to be truthful) ought to be 
taken into account. From a person " given to little surprises," or 
who posed as a diviner if one out of a hundred guesses hit the mark, 
the evidence would deserve no attention ; from a person of grave and 
reticent character, it is at any rate worthy of careful record. 

In the last example, the idea apparently transferred was of a 
somewhat abstract kind — the impression of a mere event, without any" 



concrete imagery. But the ideal class includes many instances of a 
distinctly pictorial kind, where a scene is as clearly presented to 
the inward eye as the image of a card or diagram in some of our 
experimental cases. The following account of a vivid mental picture 
of this sort was received from Mrs. Bettany, of 2, Eckington Villas, 

Ashbourne Grove, Dulwich. 

"November, 1884. 

(20) " When I was a child I had many remarkable experiences of a 
psychical nature, which I remember to have looked upon as ordinary and 
natural at the time. 

" On one occasion (I am unahle to fix the date, but I must have been 
about 10 years old) I was walking in a country lane at A., the place where 
my parents then resided. I was reading geometry as I walked along, a 
subject little likely to produce fancies or morbid phenomena of any kind, 
wlien, in a moment, I saw a bedroom known as the White Room in my 
home, and upon the floor lay my mother, to all appearance dead. The 
vision must have remained some minutes, during which time my real 
surroundings appeared to pale and die out; but as the vision faded, actual 
surroundings came back, at first dimly, and then clearly. 

" I could not doubt that what I had seen was real, so, instead of going 
home, I went at once to the house of our medical man and found him at 
home. He at once set out with me for my home, on the way putting 
questions I could not answer, as my mother was to all appearance well 
when I left liome. 

" I led the doctor straight to the White Room, where we found my 
mother actually lying as in my vision. This was true even to minute 
details. She had been seized suddenly by an attack at the heart, and 
would soon have breathed her last but for the doctor's timely advent. I 
shall get my father and mother to read this and sign it. 

" Jeaxie Gwynne-Bettany." 

Mrs. Bettany's parents write : — 

" We certify that the above is correct. " S. G. Gwynne. 

"J. W. GWYNNE." 

In answer to inquiries, Mrs. Bettany says : — 

(1) " I was in no anxiety about my mother at the time I saw the 
vision I described. She was in her usual health when I left her. 

(2) " Something a little similar had once occurred to my mother. She 
had been out riding alone, and the horse brought her to our door hanging 
half off his back, in a faint. This was a long time before, and she never 
rode again. Heart-disease had set in. She was not in tlie habit of fainting 
unless an attack of the heart was upon her. Between the attacks she 
looked and acted as if in health. 

(3) " The occasion I described was, I believe, the only one on which I 
saw a scene transported apparently into the actual field of ^vision, to the 
exclusion of objects and surroundings actually present. 

" I have had other visions in which I have seen events happening as 
they rPMlly were, in another place, but I have been also conscious of real 


In answer to further inquiries, she adds : — 

(1) "No one could tell whether my vision preceded the fact or not. 
My motlier was supposed to be out. No one knew anything of my mother's 
being ill, till I took the doctor and my father, whom I had encountered 
at the door, to the room where we found my mother as I had seen her in 
my vision. 

(2) " The doctor is dead. He has no living relation. No one in A. 
knew anything of these circumstances. 

(3) " The White Room in whicli I saw my mother, and afterwards 
actually found her, was out of use. It was unlikely she should be there. 

" Slie was found lying in the attitude in which I had seen her. I 
found a handkerchief with a lace border beside her on the floor. This I 
had distinctly noticed in my vision. There were other particulars of 
coincidence which I cannot put here." 

Mrs. Bettany's father has given the following fuller account : — 

" I distinctly remember being surprised by seeing my daughter, in 
company with the family doctor, outside the door of my residence ; and I 
asked ' Who is ill ? ' She replied, ' Mamma.' She led the way at once to 
the ' White Room,' where we found my wife lying in a swoon on the floor. 
It was when I asked when she had been taken ill, that I found it must 
have been after my daughter had left the house. None of the servants in 
the house knew anything of the sudden illness, which our doctor assured 
me would have been /«;!«^ had he not arrived when he did. 

" My wife was quite well when I left her in the morning. 

"S. G. GWYNNE." 

If this vision suggests clairvoyance, owing to the amount of 
detail presented, we must still notice that it includes nothing which 
was not, or had not recently been, within the consciousness of the 
supposed agent. This point will claim further notice at a later stage. 
But the case is chieHy useful as illustrating an evidential point, 
which it will be very important to bear in mind in studying the mass 
of narratives in the sequel — namely, that possible inaccuracy as to 
details may leave the substantial fact which makes for telepathy 
quite untouched. It might, no doubt be fairly urged that the 
vision described may have assumed its distinctness of detail in the 
percipient's mind only after the details of the actual scene had met 
her eyes. A child's mind might easily be undiscriminating in this 
respect ; and moreover Mrs. Bettany is by nature a good visualiser ; 
which may perhaps be supposed to involve a slight tendency to 
retrospective halluciruition — to mistaking vividly-conceived images 
for memories of actual experiences. But even if this hypothesis be 
pressed to the uttermost, the fact that she unexpectedly fetched the 
doctor remains ; and if her whole impression of her mother's 
critical condition was only a subsequent fancy, this very exceptional 

o 2 


step must have been taken without a reason. That is to say, we can 
only reject what is the substantial part of the evidence by supposing 
a distinctly improbable thing to have happened. And that being so, 
the evidence is a true stick in the telepathic faggot (p. 169). 

1 will supplement these two last cases by a third, in which their 
respective points, the abstract idea of an event and the concrete picture 
of a scene, were both presented. This case will also illustrate an 
evidential point. It occasionally happens that a number of occur- 
rences, perhaps trivial in character, and each of them likely enough 
to be dismissed as merely a very odd coincidence, fall to the experience 
of one person ; and if he is observant of his impressions, he may 
gradually become conscious of a certain similarity between them, 
which leads him to regard them as telepathic, or at any rate as 
something more than accidental. Before it can be worth while to 
consider such evidence, we must have reason to believe that the 
witness is a good observer, and alive to the very general mistake of 
noting hits and not misses in these matters. Such an observer we 
believe that we have found in Mr. Keulemans, of 34, Matilda Street, 
Barnsbury, N., a well-known scientific draughtsman, of whose care 
and accuracy we have had several examples. He has experienced so 
many of these coincidences that, even before our inquiries quickened 
his interest in the matter, he had been accustomed to keep a record 
of his impressions — which, according to his own account, were invari- 
ably justified by fact. Some more of his cases will be given in the 
sequel. The one here quoted is trivial enough (except perhaps to the 
baby who fell out of bed), and of little force if it were a single experi- 
ence. Yet it will be seen that the impression was precise in character, 
was at once written down, and proved to be completely correct. We 
may perhaps assume Mrs. Keulemans to have been the agent. 

"October 16th, 1883. 

(21) " My wife went to reside at the seaside on September 30th last, 
taking with her our youngest child, a little boy 13 months old. 

" On Wednesday, October 3rd, I felt a strong impression that the little 
fellow was worse (he was in weak health on his departure). The idea then 
prevailed on my mind that he had met with a slight accident ; and 
immediately the picture of the bedroom in which he sleeps appeared in my 
mind's eye. It was not the strong sensation of awe or sorrow, as I had 
often experienced before on such occasions ; but, anyhow, I fancied he had 
fallen out of the bed, upon chairs, and then rolled down upon the floor. 
This was about 11 a.m., and I at once wrote to my wife, asking her to let 
me know how the little fellow was getting on. I thought it rather bold 
to tell my wife that the baby had, to my conviction, really met with an 


accident, without being able to produce any confirmatory evidence. Also I 
considered that she would take it as an insinuation of carelessness on her 
part ; therefore I purposely wrote it as a post scriptum. 

" I hear-d no more about it, and even fancied that this time my im- 
pression was merely the consequence of anxiety. But on Saturday last I 
went to see my wife and child, and asked whether she had taken notice of 
my advice to protect the baby against such an accident. She smiled at first, 
and then infoi-med me tliat he had tumbled out of bed upon the chairs 
placed at the side, and then found his way upon the floor, without being 
hurt. She further remarked, ' You must have been thinking of that when 
it was just too late, because it happened the same day your letter came, 
some hours previously,' I asked her what time of the day it happened. 
Answer : ' About 11 a.m.' She told me that she heard the baby fall, and 
at once ran upstairs to pick him up. 

" I am certain, without the shadow of a doubt, that I wrote imme- 
diately after the impression ; and that this was between 11 and 11.30 in 
the morning." 

I have seen the letter which Mr. Keulemans wrote to his wife. The 
envelope bears the post-mark of Worthing, October 3rd ; and the postcript 
contained the following words : — 

" Mind little Gaston does not fall out of bed. Put chairs in front of it. 
You know accidents soon happen. The fact is, I am almost certain he has 
met with such a mishap tiiis very morning." 

Mrs. Keulemans' aunt supplied the following testimony a day or two 
after Mr. Keulemans' letter of October 16th. 

" 36, Teville Street, Worthing. 
"Mrs. Keulemans (my niece) and her baby are staying at my house. 
The baby had fallen out of bed the morning of the day the letter [i.e., 
Mr. Keulemans' letter] was received. << q Gray " 

The next account illustrates an emotional impression, with a 
certain amount of physical discomfort. The experience appears to 
have been of a very unusual sort, and the coincidence of time to have 
been exact ; the case is therefore a strong example of a weak class. 
The narrator is Miss Martyn, of Long Melford Rectory, Suffolk. 

"September 4th, 1884. 

(22) " On March 16th, 1884, I was sitting alone in the drawing- 
room, reading an interesting book, and feeling perfectly well, when 
suddenly I experienced an undefined feeling of dread and horror ; I looked 
at the clock and saw it was just 7 p.m. I was utterly unable to read, so 1 
got up and walked about the room trying to throw ofi' the feeling, but I 
could not : I became quite cold, and had a firm presentiment that I was 
dying. 1 The feeling lasted about half-an-hour, and then passed ofi", leaving 
me a good deal shaken all the evening ; I went to bed feeling very weak, 
as if I had been seriously ill. 

" The next morning I received a telegram telling me of the death of a 
near and very dear cousin, Mrs. K., in Shropshire, with whom I had been 

1 Cf. cases 70 and 76. 


most intimately associated all my life, but for the last two years had seen 
very little of her. I did not associate this feeling of death with her or 
with anyone else, but I had a most distinct impression that something 
terrible was happening. This feeling came over me, I afterwards found, 
just at the time when my cousin died (7 p.m.). The connection with her 
death may have been simply an accident. I have never experienced any- 
thing of the sort before. I was not aware that Mrs. K. was ill, and her 
death was peculiarly sad and sudden. u j^ ]y[ " 

Mr. White Cooper, through whose kindness we obtained this account, 
writes as follows : — 

" 19, Berkeley Square, W. 

"April 7th, 1885. 

" I have asked Miss Martyn whether she had told anyone about her 
feeling of horror on March 16th, before she heard of the death of her 
cousin. She told me she had. She was quite convinced, and perfectly 
remembered telling Miss Mason the same evening, after Miss Mason had 
come from church, that she had had a peculiar feeling of horror and dread 
for which she could give no account. I then questioned Miss Mason, and 
enclose what she dictated." 

Miss Mason says : — 

" The Rectory, Long Melford, Suffolk. 

"April 5th, 1885. 

" I well remember Miss Martyn telling me that a feeling of horror and 
an indescribable dread came over her on Sunday evening, March 16th, 
1884, while we were in church, and she was alone in the drawing-room ; 
that she was unable to shake it off, and felt very restless, and got up and 
walked about the room. She did not refer to anyone, and could give no 
cause for this peculiar feeling. I am under the impression that she told 
me the same evening (Sunday), and before she heard of the death of her 
cousin, bnt I am not certain whether it was Sunday or Monday that she 
told me about it. « Anna M. Mason." 

We have verified the date of the death in two local newspapers. The 
day was a Sunday, which is in accordance with the evidence. 

§ 4. The next case illustrates the class of dreams (D). I am 
aware that the very mention of this class is apt to raise a prejudice 
against our whole inquiry. I shall explain later why it is extremely 
difficult to draw conclusive evidence of telepathy from dreams, and 
why we mark off the whole class of dreams, which are simply remem- 
bered as such, from the cases on which we rest our argument ; but I 
shall also hope to show that dreams, though needing to be treated 
with the greatest caution, have a necessary and instructive place in 
the conspectus of telepathic phenomena. As to the evidential force 
of the present case, it will be enough to point out that the percipient 
states the experience to have been unique in his life ; and that 
the violence of the effect produced, leading to the very unusual entry 
in the diary, puts the vision outside the common run of dreams which 


may justly be held to afford almost limitless scope for accidental 

coincidences. The narrative is from Mr. Frederick Wingfield, of Belle 

Isle en Terre, Cotes du Nord, France. 

"20th December, 1883. 

(23) " I give you my most solemn assurance that what I am about to 
relate is the exact account of what occurred. I may remark that I am so 
little liable to the imputation of being easily impressed with a sense of the 
supernatural i that I have been accused, and with reason, of being unduly 
sceptical upon matters which lay beyond my powers of explanation. 

" On the night of Thursday, the 25th of March, 1880, I retired to bed 
after reading till late, as is my habit. I dreamed that I was lying on my 
sofa reading, when, on looking up, I saw distinctly the figure of my brother, 
Richard Wingfield-Baker, sitting on the chair before me. I dreamed that 
I spoke to him, but that he simply bent his head in reply, rose and left the 
room. When I awoke, I founcl myself standing with one foot on the 
ground by my bedside, and the other on the bed, trying to speak and to 
pronounce my brother's name. So strong was the impression as to the 
reality of his presence and so vivid the whole scene as dreamt, that I left 
my bedroom to search for my brother in the sitting-room. I examined the 
chair where I had seen him seated, I returned to bed, tried to fall asleep 
in the hope of a repetition of the appearance, but my mind was too excited, 
too painfully disturbed, as I recalled what I had dreamed. I must have, 
however, fallen asleep towards the morning, but when I awoke, the 
impression of my dream was as vivid as ever — and I may add is to this 
very hour equally strong and clear. My sense of impending evil was so 
strong that I at once made a note in my memorandum book of this 
' appearance,' and added the words, ' God forbid.' 

" Three days afterwards I received the news that my brother, Richard 
Wingfield-Baker, had died on Thursday evening, the 25th of March, 1880, 
at 8.30 p.m., from the efiects of the terrible injuries received in a fall 
while hunting with the Blackmore Vale hounds. 

"I will only add that I had been living in this town some 12 months ; 
that I had not had any recent communication with my brother ; that I 
knew him to be in good health, and that he was a perfect horseman. I did 
not at once communicate this dream to any intimate friend — there was 
unluckily none here at that very moment — but I did relate the story after 
the receipt of the news of my brother's death, and showed the entry in my 
memorandum book. As evidence, of course, this is worthless ; but I give 
you my word of honour that the circumstances I have related are the 
positive truth. 

"Fred. Wingfield." 

"February 4th, 1884. 

" I must explain my silence by the excuse that I could not procure till 
to-day a letter from my friend the Prince de Lucinge-Faucigny, in which 
he mentions the fact of my having related to him the particulars of my 
dream on the 25th of March, 1880. He came from Paris to stay a few 

1 This expression cannot be excluded, when the words of oiu- informants are quoted. 
We, ourselves, of course, regard all these occurrences as strictly natural. 


days with me early in April, and saw the entry in my note-book, which I 
now enclose for your inspection. You will observe the initials R. B. W. B., 
and a curious story is attached to these letters. During that sleepless 
night I naturally dwelt upon the incident, and recalled the circumstances 
connected with the apparition. Though I distinctly recognised my brother's 
features, the idea flashed upon me that the figure bore some slight 
resemblance to my most intimate and valued friend. Colonel Bigge, and in 
my dread of impending evil to one to whom I am so much attached, I wrote 
the four initials, R. B. for Richard Baker, and W. B. for William Bigge. 
When the tidings of my brother's death reached me I again looked at the 
entry, and saw with astonishment that the four letters stood for my 
brother's full name, Richard Baker Wingfield-Baker, though I had always 
spoken of him as Richard Baker in common with the rest of my family. 
The figure I saw was that of my brother ; and in my anxious state of mind 
I worried myself into the belief that possibly it might be that of my old 
friend, as a resemblance did exist in the fashion of their beards. I can 
give you no further explanations, nor can I produce further testimony in 
support of my assertions. 

"Fred. Wingfield." 

With this letter, Mr. Wingfield sent me the note-book, in which, 
among a number of business memoranda, notes of books, &c., I find the 
entry — " Appearance— Thursday night, 25th of March, 1880. R. B. W. B. 
God forbid ! " 

The following letter was enclosed : — 

" Coat-an-nos, 2 fevrier, 1884. 

" Mon cher ami, — Je n'ai aucun effort de memoire a faire pour me 
rappeler le fait dont vous me parlez, car j 'en ai conserve un souvenir tres 
net et tres precis. 

" Je me souviens parfaitement que le dimanche, 4 avril, 1880, etant 
arrivd de Paris le matin meme pour passer ici quelques jours, j'ai dte 
dejeuner avec vous. Je me souviens aussi parfaitement que je vous ai 
trouve fort ^mu de la douloureuse nouvelle qui vous etait parvenue 
quelques jours ^ auparavant, de la mort de I'un des messieurs vos 
freres. Je me rappelle aussi comme si le fait s'etait passe hier, tant j'en 
ai ete frappe, que quelques jours avant d'apprendre la triste nouvelle, 
vous aviez un soir, etant deja couche, vu, ou cru voir, mais en tous cas 
tres distinctement, votre frere, celui dont vous veniez d'apprendre la 
mort subite, tout pres de votre lit, et que, dans la conviction oil vous 
etiez que c'etait bien lui que vous perceviez, vous vous etiez leve et lui 
aviez addresse la parole, et qu'a ce moment vous aviez cesse de le voir 
comme s'il s'etait evanoui ainsi qu'un spectre. Je me souviens encore 
que, sous I'impression de I'emotion bien naturelle qui avait ete la suite 
de cet ^venement, vous I'aviez inscrit dans un petit carnet ou vous 
avez I'habitude d'ecrire les faits saillants de votre tres paisible existence, 
et que vous m'avez fait voir ce carnet. Cette apparition, cette vision, 
ou ce songe, comme vous voudrez I'appeler, est inscrit, si j'ai bon 
souvenir, a la date du 24 ou du 25 fevrier,^ et ce n'est que deux ou trois 

1 The words "^ue^qfucs Jours auparavant," coupled with the fact that the number of 
the day is right, suggest that ftvrier is a mere slip of the pen for nuirs. 


jours apres que vous avez re9u la nouvelle ofHcielle de la niort de votre 

" J'ai ^te d'autant moins surpris de ce (jue vous me disiez alors, et j'en ai 
aussi conserve un souvenir d'autant plus net et precis, coinme je vous le 
disais en conimencant, que j'ai dans ma familledes faits similaires auxquels 
je crois absolument. 

" Des faits semblables arrivent, croyez-le bien, bien plus souvent qu'on 
he le croit gen«jralement ; seulement on ne veut pas toujours les dire, 
parceque Ton se mefie de soi ou des autres. 

" Au revoir, cher ami, a bientot, je I'espere, et croyez bien a I'expression 
des plus sinceres sentiments de votre tout devoue 

" Faucigny, Prince Lucinge." 

In answer to inquiries, Mr. Wingfield adds : — 

" I have never had any other startling dream of the same nature, nor 
any dream from which I woke with the same sense of reality and distress, 
and of which the efi'ect continued long after I was well awake. Nor have 
I upon any other occasion had a hallucination of the senses." 

The Times obituary for March 30th, 1880, records the death of Mr. R. 
B. Wingfield-Baker, of Orsett Hall, Essex, as having taken place on the 
25th. The Essex Independent gives the same date, adding that Mr. Baker 
breathed his last about 9 o'clock. 

It will be seen here that the impression followed the death by a few 
hours — a featvire which will frequently recur. The fact, of course, 
slightly detracts from the evidential force of a case, as compared with 
the completely simultaneous coincidences ; inasmuch as the odds 
against the accidental occurrence of a unique impression of someone's 
presence within a few hours of his death, enormous as they are, are 
less enormous than the odds against a similar accidental occurrence 
within five minutes of the death. But the deferment of the impression, 
though to this slight extent affecting a case as an item of telepathic 
evidence, is not in itself any obstacle to the telepathic explanation. We 
may recall that m some of the experimental cases the impression was 
never a piece of conscious experience at all ; while in others the latency 
and gradual emergence of the idea was a very noticeable feature 
(pp. 56, 63-71, 84). This justifies us in presuming that an impression 
which ultimately takes a sensory form may fail in the first instance to 
reach the threshold of attention. It may be unable to compete, at 
the moment, with the vivid sensory impressions, and the crowd of 
ideas and images, that belong to normal seasons of waking life ; 
and it may thus remain latent till darkness and quiet give a 
chance for its development. This view seems at any rate supported 
by the fact that it is usually at night that the delayed impression 
— if such it be — emerges into the percipient's consciousness. It is 


supported also by analogies which recognised psychology supplies. 
I may refer to the extraordinary exaltation of memory sometimes 
observed in hypnotic and hystero-epileptic " subjects " ; or even to 
the vivid revival, in ordinary dreaming, of impressions which have 
hardly affected the waking consciousness. 

Mr. Wingfield's vision had another unusual feature besides the 
violence of its effect on him. It represented a single figure, without 
detail or incident. It was, so to speak, the dream of an apparition ; 
and in this respect bears a closer affinity to " borderland " and waking 
cases than to dreams in general. It will be worth while to quote here 
one dream-case of a more ordinary type so far as its content is con- 
cerned, but resembling the last in its unusual and distressing vividness. 
The supposed agent in this instance experienced nothing more than a 
brief sense of danger and excitement, which, however, may have been 
sufficiently intense during the moments that it lasted. The account 
is from Mrs. West, of Hildegarde, Furness Road, Eastbourne. 


(24) " My father and brother were on a journey during the winter. I 
was expecting them home, without knowing the exact day of their return. 
The date, to the best of my recollection, was the winter of 1871-2. I had 
gone to bed at my usual time, about 11 p.m. Some time in the night I had 
a vivid dream, wJiich made a great impression on me. I dreamt I was look- 
ing out of a window, when I saw father driving in a Spids sledge, followed 
in another by my brother. They liad to pass a cross-road, on which another 
traveller was driving very fast, also in a sledge with one horse. Father 
seemed to drive on without observing the other fellow, who would without 
fail have driven over father if he had not made his horse rear, so that 
I saw my father drive under the hoofs of the horse. Every moment I 
expected the horse would fall down and crush him. I called out 'Father ! 
father ! ' and woke in a great fright. The next morning my father and 
brother returned. I said to him, ' I am so glad to see you arrive quite 
safely, as I had such a dreadful dream about you last night.' My brother 
said, 'You could not liave been in greater fright about him than I was,' 
and then he related to me what had happened, which tallied exactly with 
my dream. My brother in his fright, when he saw the feet of the horse 
over father's head, called out, ' Oh ! father, father ! ' 

" I have never had any other dream of this kind, nor do I remember 
ever to have had another dream of an accident happening to anyone in 
whom I was interested. I often dream of people, and when this happens 
I generally expect to receive a letter from them, or to hear of them in the 
course of the next day. I dreamt of Mrs. G. Bidder the night before I 
received lier letter asking me for an account of this dream ; and I told Mr. 
West, before we went down to breakfast, that I should have a letter that 
day from her. I had no other reason to expect a letter from her, nor had 
I received one for some time, I should think some years, previously. 

" Hilda West." 


Mrs. West's father, Sir John Crowe, late Consul-General foi- Norwa}-, 
is since dead ; but her brotlier, Mr. Septimus Crowe, of Librola, Mary's 
Hill Road, Shortlands, sends us the following conlirmation :— 

" I remember vividly, on my return once with my father from a trip 
to the north of Norway in the winter time, my sister meeting us at the 
hall-door as we entered, and exclaiming how pleased she was to see us, 
and that we were safe, as she said at once to me that she had had such an 
unpleasant dream the evening before. I said, ' What was it 1 ' She then 
minutely explained to me the dream, as she related it to you, and which is 
in accordance with the facts. It naturally astonished my father and 
myself a good deal, that she so vividly in her sleep saw exactly what 
happened, and I should say, too, she dreamt it at the very time it 
happened, about 11.30 p.m. " Septimus Crowe." i 

This, again, is a good example of a weak class. But in the present 
instance we at any rate possess Mrs. West's testimony that her experi- 
ence was unique ; and we have, further, Mr. Crowe's testimony that the 
dream was accurately described before the facts were known. It was 
described, no doubt, in a conversation with him — -a person whose mind 
was full of the facts, and he probably did not keep silence during the 
whole course of his sister's narration : I have already noted that the 
unprepared actors in these cases are not likely to conduct themselves 
at the moment with a deliberate eye to the flawlessness of their 
evidence for our purposes some years afterwards. But it would be 
straining a sceptical hypothesis too far to assume that his interposed 
comments formed the real basis of the scene in Mrs. West's memory, 
while he himself remained completely unconscious that he was 
supplying the information which he appeared to be receiving. 

§ 5. We now come to an example of the " borderland " class (E) — 
the class where the percipient, though not asleep, was not, or cannot be 

1 Our friend Mrs. Bidder, the wife of Mr. G. Bidder, Q.C., sends us the foUow-ing 
recollection of the narrative as told at her table by Mr. S. Crowe, who is her husband's 

" Ravensbury Park, ^Nlitcham, Surrey. 

" 10th January, 1883. 

"The following was related at our table by my husband's brother-in-law,Mr.Septimus 
Crowe. His father, since dead, was Sir John Crowe, Consul-General for Norway. 

" ' My father and I were travelling one winter in Norway. We had our carrioles as 
sledges, and my father drove first, I following. One day we were driving very quickly 
down a steep hill, at the bottom of which ran a road, at right angles with the one we were 
on. As we neared the bottom of the hill we saw a carriole, going as quickly as ourselves, 
just ready to cross our path. My father reined in suddenly, his horse reared and fell over, 
and I could not, at first, see whether he was hurt or not. He, luckily, had sustained no 
injury, and in due time we reached home. My sister, on our approach, i-ushed out, 
exclaiming : ' ' Then you are not hurt ? I saw the horse rear, bi;t I could not see whether 
you were hurt or not." ' " 

It will be seen that if Mrs. Bidder's report is strictly accurate, there is a discrepancy as 
to which of the two horses it was that reared. But even eye-witnesses of a sudden and 
confusing accident might afterwards differ in such a point as this. 


proved to have been, in a state of complete normal wakefulness. The 
case was first published in the Spiritual Magazine for 1861, by Dr. 
Colly er, who wrote from Beta House, 8, Alpha Road, St. John's 
Wood, N.W. 

"April 15th, 1861. 
(2.5) " On January 3rd, 1856, my brother Joseph being in command of 
the steamer ' Alice,' on the Mississippi, just above New Orleans, she came 
in collision with another steamer. The concussion caused the flagstaff or 
pole to fall with great violence, which, coming in contact with my 
brother's head, actually divided the skull, causing, of necessity, instant 
death. In October, 1857, I visited the United States. When, at my 
father's residence, Camden, New Jersey, the melancholy death of my 
brother became the subject of conversation, my mother narrated to me 
that at the very time of the accident, the apparition of my brother 
Joseph was presented to her. This fact was corroborated by my father 
and four sisters. Camden, New Jersey, is distant from the scene of the 
accident, in a direct line, over 1,000 miles, and nearly double that distance 
by the mail route. My mother mentioned the fact of the apparition on 
the morning of the Ith of January to my father and sisters ; nor was it 
until the 16th, or 13 days after, that a letter was received confirming in 
every particular the extraordinary visitation. It will be important to 
mention that my brother WilUam and his wife lived near the locality of 
the dreadful accident, now being in Philadelphia; they have also 
corroborated to me the details of the impression produced on my mother." 
Dr. Collyer then quotes a letter from his mother, which contains the 
following sentences : — " Camden, New Jersey, United States. 

"March 27th, 1861. 
"My beloved Son, — On the 3rd of January, 1856, I did not feel well, 
and retired to bed early. Some time after, I felt uneasy and sat up in 
bed ; I looked round the room, and to my utter amazement, saw Joseph 
standing at the door, looking at me with great earnestness, his head 
bandaged up, a dirty night-cap on, and a dirty white gannent on, 
something like a surplice. He was much disfigured about the eyes and 
face. It made me quite uncomfortable the rest of the night. The next 
morning, Mary came into my room early. I told her that I was sure I 
was going to have bad news from Joseph. I told all the family at the 
breakfast table ; they rephed, ' It was only a dream, and all nonsense,' 
but that did not change my opinion. It preyed on my mind, and on the 
16th of January I received the news of his death ; and singular to say, 
both William and his wife, who were there, say that he was exactly 
attired as I saw him. " Your ever affectionate Mother, 

Dr. Collyer continues :- " A^^^ E. Collyer.'' 

" It will no doubt be said that my mother's imagination was in a 
morbid state, but this will not account for the fact of the apparition of my 
brother presenting himself at the exact moment of his death. My mother 
had never seen him attired as described, and the bandaging of the head 
did not take place until hours after the accident. My brother William told 
me that his head was nearly cut in two by the blow, and that his face was 
dreadfully disfigured, and the night-dress much soiled. 


"I cannot wonder that others should be sceptical, as the evidences I 
have had could not have been received on the testimony of others ; we must, 
therefore, be charitable towards the incredulous. 

" Robert H. Collyer, M.D., F.C.S., &c." 

On our applying to Dr. Collyer, he replied as follows : — ■ 

" 25, Newington Causeway, Borough, S.E. 

"March Loth, 1884. 

" In replying to your communication, I must state that, strange as the 
circumstances narrated in tlie Spiritual Magazine of 1861 are, I can assure 
you that there is not a particle of exaggeration. As there stated, my 
mother received the mental impression of my brother on January 3rd, 
1856. My father, who was a scientific man, calculated the difference of 
longitude between Camden, New Jersey, and New Orleans, and found that 
the mental impression was at the exact time of my brother's death. I 
may mention that I never was a believer in any spiritual intercourse, or 
that any of the phenomena present during exalted conditions of the brain 
are spiritual. I am, and have been for the last 40 years, a materialist, 
and think that all the so-called spiritual manifestations admit of a 
philosophical explanation, on physical Jaws and conditions. I do not desire 
to theorise, but to my mind the sympathetic chord of relationship existed 
between my mother and my brother (who was her favourite son), when 
that chord was broken by his sudden death, she being at the time favourably 
situated to receive the shock. 

"In the account published in the Spiritual Magazine, I omitted to 
state that my brother Joseph, prior to his death, had retired for the night 
in his berth ; his vessel was moored alongside the levee, at the time of the 
collision by another steamer coming down the Mississippi. Of course, my 
brother was in his nightgown. He ran on deck on being called and 
informed that a steamer was in close proximity to his own. These 
circumstances were communicated to me by my brother William, who 
was on the spot at the time of the accident. I do not attempt to account 
for the apparition having a bandage, as that could not have been put for 
some time after death. The diflerence of time between Camden, New 
Jersey, and New Orleans is nearly 15°, or one hour. 

" My mother retii-ed for the night on 3rd January, 1856, at 8 p.m., 
which would mark the time at New Orleans 7 p.m. as the time of my 
brother's death." 

Mr. Podmore says : — 

" I called upon Dr. Collyer on 25th March, 1884. He told me that 
he received a full account of the story verbally from his father, mother, 
and brother in 1857. All are now dead ; but two sisters — to one of whom 
I have written — are still living. Dr. Collyer was quite certain of the 
precise coincidence of time." 

The following is from one of the surviving sisters : — 

" Mobile, Alabama, 12th May, 1884. 

" I resided in Camden, New Jersey, at the time of my brother's death. 
He lived in Louisiana. His death was caused by the collision of two 
steamers on the Mississippi. Some part of the mast fell on him, splitting 
his head open, causing instantaneous death. The apparition appeared to my 
mother at the foot of her bed. It stood there for some time gazing at her, 


and disappeared. The apparition was clothed in a long white garnient, 
with its head bound in a white cloth. My mother was not a superstitious 
person, nor did she believe in Spiritualism. She was wide awake at the 
time. It was not a dream. She remarked to me when I saw her in the 
morning, ' I shall hear bad news from Joseph,' and related to me what she 
had seen. Two or three days ^ from that time we heard of the sad accident. 
I had another brother who was there at the time, and when he returned 
home I inquired of him all particulars, and how he was laid out. His 
description answered to what my mother saw, much to our astonishment. 

" A. E. COLLYER." 

Here we have no direct proof of the exactness of the coincidence ; 
but Dr. Collyer is clear on the fact that the matter was carefully- 
inquired into at the time. As to the alleged resemblances between 
the phantasm and the real figure, we shall find reason further on to 
think that the impression of the white garment may have been really 
transferred. But the criticism made above in respect of Mrs. Bettany's 
narrative again applies : we cannot account it certain that points were 
not read back into the vision, after Mrs. Collyer had learnt the actual 
aspect which the dead man presented. It will be observed, too, that 
the more striking details — especially that of the bandage — could not 
in any case help the telepathic argument. For if the son who was 
killed was the " agent " of his mother's impression, any correspondence 
of the phantasmal appearance with features of reality which did 
not come into existence till after death must plainly have been 
accidental. We shall afterwards encounter plenty of instances where 
the percipient supplements the impression that he receives with 
elements from his own mind, and especially, in death-cases, with 
elements symbolic of death ; and it is not impossible that in the present 
instance the white garment and bandaged head were a dim repre- 
sentation of grave-clothes. 

Mrs. Collyer would probably have affirmed that at the time of her 
vision she was completely awake. That the percipient in the next 
example was completely awake is, I think, nearly certain ; but as he 
was in bed, the account may serve as a transition to the cases where 
the matter admits of no doubt. Mr. Marchant, of Linkfield Street, 
Redhill, formerly a large farmer, wrote to us in the summer of 1883: — 

1 This is probably incorrect, as it differs from Dr. CoUyer's and the mother's 
statement ; but the point does not seem important. For a piece of independent 
testimony respecting Captain Collyer 's death, see the "Additions and Corrections " which 
precede Chap. I. The hour there mentioned is 10 p.m. ; but this can hardly weigh 
against Dr. CoUyer's evidence. After 30 years' interval, a mistake of 3 hours might easily 
be made as to the time of an event which occurred after dark on a winter's night. 


(26) "About 2 o'clock on the morning of October 21st, 1881, while I 
was perfectly wide awake, and looking at a lamp burning on my washhaiid- 
stand, a person, as I thought, came into my room by mistake, and stopped, 
looking into the looking-glass on the table. It soon occurred to me it 
represented Robinson Kelsey, by his dress and wearing his hair long 
behind. When I raised myself up in bed and called out, it instantly 
disappeared.^ The next day '^ I mentioned to some of my friends how 
strange it was. So thoroughly convinced was I, that I searched the local 
papers that day (Saturday) and the following Tuesday, believing his death 
would be in one of them. On the following Wednesday, a man, who 
formerly was my drover, came and told me Robinson Kelsey was dead. 
Anxious to know at what time he died, I wrote to Mr. Wood, the family 
undertaker at Lingfield ; he learnt from the brother-in-law of the deceased 
that he died at 2 a.m. He was my first cousin, and was apprenticed 
formerly to me as a miller ; afterwards he lived with me as journeyman ; 
altogether, 8 years. I never saw anything approaching that befoi-e. 
I am 72 years old, and never feel nervous ; I am not afraid of the dead or 
their spirits. I hand you a rough plan of the bedroom, ttc." 

In answer to inquiries, Mr. Marchant replied : — 

" Robinson Kelsey had met with an accident. His horse fell with 
him, and from that time he seemed at times unfit for business. He had a 
farm at Penshurst, in Kent. His friends persuaded hin to leave it. He 
did, and went to live on his own property, called Batnors Hall, in the 
parish of Lingfield, Surrey. I had not been thinking about him, neither 
had I spoken to him for 20 years. About 3 or 4 years before his death I 
saw him, but not to speak to him. I was on the up-side platform of Red- 
hill Station, and I saw him on the opposite down-side. In the morning 
after seeing the apparition, I spoke about it to a person in the house. In 
the evening, I again spoke about it to two persons, how strange it was. 
It was several days after our conversation about what I had seen that I 
heard of tlie death. These people will confirm my statement, for after I 
heard of his death I spoke of it to the same people, that my relation died 
the same night as I saw the apparition. When I spoke to these three 
persons I did not know of his death, but had ray suspicions from what I 
had seen. As the apparition passed between my bed and the lamp I had 
a full view of it ; it was unmistakeable. When it stopped looking in the 
glass I spoke to it, then it gently sank away downwards. 

"Probably it was 10 days before I found out, through Mr. Wood, the 
hour he died, so that these persons I spoke to knew nothing of his death 
at the time. " George Marchant." 

We have received the following confirmation of this incident : — 

"July 18th, 1883. 
" We are positive of hearing Mr. Marchant one day say that he saw 
the apparition of Robinson Kelsey during the pre\dous night. 

" Ann Langeridge, Linkfield Sti-eet, Redhill. 
"Matilda Fuller, Station Road, Redhill. 
" William Miles, Station Road, Redhill." 

1 As to the disappearance on sudden speech or movement, see Vol. ii., p. 91, first note. 
- This mean's the day follo\ving the night of the experience ; but, two lines lower, 
that day should no doubt be the next day, as Oct. 21, 1881, was a Friday. 


Mr. Anthony Kelsey, of Lingfield, Surrey, brother-in-law and cousin 
of Robinson Kelsey, has confirmed October 21st, 1881, as the date of the 
death (which we have also verified in the Register of Deaths), but he has 
forgotten the hour ; and Mr. Robinson Kelsey's widow having since died, 
Mr. Marchant's recollection on this point cannot now be ii\dependently con- 
firmed. As to the hour of the apparition, again, Mr. Marchant's state- 
ment is only a conclusion, drawn from his regular habit of waking once 
in the middle of the night at about 2. But there can be no reasonable 
doubt that the day of the death and of the vision was the same. 

On February 1 2th, 1 884, I had an interview with Mr. Marchant, who is 
a very vigorous and sensible old man, with a precise mind. He went through 
all the details of his narrative in a methodical manner, and his description 
corresponded in every particular with the written account, which was sent 
to me many montlis before. Mr. Marchant was positive that he never had 
any other hallucination of the senses, and laughed at the very idea of such 
things. He quite realised the ordinary criticisms which might be made about 
a nocturnal vision, e.g., that he had had a glass too much, and also realised 
their absurdity as applied to his own case. I cannot doubt liis statement 
that he has been a most temperate man. He showed me in his bedroom the 
precise line that the figure took ; appearing at his right hand, then passing 
along in front of a lamp which was on the washhand-stand, and finally 
standing between the foot of his bed and the dressing-table. He described 
Kelsey's long and bushy black hair as a very distinct peculiarity. In answer 
to inquiries on this point he says : " I have not any doubt whatever that 
Robinson Kelsey did have that peculiarity of the hair at the day of his 
death. My recollection of him is as clear as if I had his photo before me." 
The figure was visible, he thinks, for nearly a minute ; but the length of 
time in such cases is of course likely to be over-estimated. 

I likewise saw Mrs. Langeridge, a sensible person, without any belief 
in " ghosts," who at once volunteered the remark that Mr. Marchant 
described his vision to her next morning. 

This case is remarkable from the fact that there was no. 
immediate interest between the two parties— though it is of course 
possible that the dying man's thoughts reverted to his kinsman and 
old employer. But comments on this point must be reserved. 

I G. We now come to examples of the most important class of 
all, Class A — externalised impressions, occurring to persons who are 
up, and manifestly in the full possession of their waking senses. Of 
this class the most important examples are visunl impressions, or 
apparitions. But I will first give a case which is on the line between 
Classes A and B, a vision not absolutely externalised in space, but 
where the mental image took on a sort of vividness and objectivity 
which the percipient believes to have been unexampled in his 
experience. The coincidence with the death of the agent was 


apparently quite exact ; and we have the testimony of a third person 
to the fact tliat the percipient mentioned his impression immediately 
on its occurrence. The narrator is Mr. Rawlinson, of Lansdown 
Court West, Cheltenham. 

"September 18th, 1883. 

(27) " I was dressing one morning in December, 1881, when a certain 
conviction came upon me that someone was in my dressing-room. On 
looking round, I saw no one, but then, instantaneously (in my mind's eye, 
I suppose), every feature of the face and form of my old friend, X., arose. 
This, as you may imagine, made a great impression on me, and I went at 
once into my wife's room and told her what had occurred, at the same 
time stating that I feared Mr. X. must be dead. The subject was 
mentioned between us several times that day. Next morning, I received 
a letter from X.'s brother, then Consul-General at Odessa, but who I did 
not know was in England, saying that his brother had died at a quarter 
before 9 o'clock that morning. This was the very time the occurrence 
happened in my dressing-i'oom. It is right to add that we had heard some 
two months previously that X. was suliering from cancer, but still we 
were in no immediate apprehension of his death. I never on any other 
occasion had any hallucination of the senses, and sincerely trust I never 
again shall. 

" Rob. Rawlinson." 

The following is Mrs. Rawlinson's account : — 

"June 18th, 1883. 

" My husband was dressing, a few months ago, one morning about a 
quarter to 9 o'clock, when he came into my room, and said : ' I feel sure 
X.' (an old friend of his) ' is dead.' He said all at once he felt as if there 
was someone in the room with him, and X.'s face came vividly before his 
mind's eye ; and then he had this extraordinary conviction of X.'s death. 
He could not get the idea out of his mind all day. Strange to say, the 
next morning he had a letter saying X. had died the morning before, at a 
quarter to 9, just the very time my husband came into my room. About 
two months before, we had heard that X. had an incurable complaint, but 
we had heard nothing more, and his name had not been mentioned by 
anyone for weeks. I ought to tell you that my husband is tlie last person 
in the world to imagine anything, and he had always been particularly 
unbelieving as to anything supernatural." ^ 

A reference to the Consul's letter, and to the Times obituary, has 
fixed the date of the death as December 17th ; but the date of the 
vision was not written down at the time : we therefore have to 
trust to Mr. and Mrs. Rawlinson's memory for the fact that it took 
place on the day before the letter was received. Not, however — be 
it observed — to their memory noiv, but to their memory at the time 
when the letter was received ; and considering the effect that the 

1 See p. 199, note. " X." in the above accounts is our own substitution for the real 


occurrence had on their minds, we can scarcely suppose them to have 
agreed in referring it to the preceding day, if several days had really 

In the next case the coincidence was certainly close to within a 
very few minutes, and may have been exact. The impression was 
again completely unique in the percipient's experience, and was at 
once communicated to a third person, whose testimony to that point 
we have obtained. " N. J. S.," who, though he uses the third person, is 
himself the narrator, is personally known to us. Occupying a position 
of considerable responsibility, he does not wish his name to be 
published ; but it can be given to inquirers, and he " will answer any 
questions personally to anyone having a wish to arrive at the truth." 
The account was received within a few weeks of the occurrence. 

(28) " N. J. S. and F. L. were employed together in an ofl&ce, were 
brought into intimate relations with one another, which lasted for about eight 
years, and held one another in very great regard and esteem. On Monday, 
March 19th, 1883, F. L., in coming to the office, complained of having 
sutfered from indigestion ; he went to a chemist, who told him that his 
liver was a little out of order, and gave him some medicine. He did not 
seem much better on Thursday. On Saturday he was absent, and N. J. S. 
has since heard he was examined by a medical man, who thought he wanted 
a day or two of rest, but expressed no opinion that anything was serious. 

" On Saturday evening, March 24th, N. J. S., who had a headache, was 
sitting at home. He said to his wife that he was what he had not been for 
months, rather too warm ; after making the remark he leaned back on the 
couch, and the next minute saw his friend, F. L., standing before him, 
dressed in his usual manner. N. J. S. noticed the details of his dress, 
that is, his hat with a black band, his overcoat unbuttoned, and a stick in 
his hand ; he looked with a fixed regard at N. J. S., and then passed away. 
N. J. S. quoted to himself from Job, 'And lo, a spirit passed before me, 
and the hair of my flesh stood up.' At that moment an icy chill passed 
through him, ^ and his hair bristled. He then turned to his wife and asked 
her the time; she said, ' 12 minutes to 9.' He then said, 'The reason I 
ask you is that F. L. is dead. I have just seen him.' She tried to persuade 
him it was fancy, but he most positively assured her that no argument was 
of avail to alter his opinion. 

"The next day, Sunday, about 3 p.m., A. L., brother of F. L., came to 
the house of N. J. S., who let him in. A. L. said, ' I suppose you know 
what I have come to tell you ? ' N. J. S. replied, ' Yes, your brother is 
dead.' A. L. said, ' I thought you would know it.' N. J. S. replied, 
' Why V A. L. said, ' Because you were in such sympathy with one another.' 
N. J. S. afterwards ascertained that A. L. called on Saturday to see his 
brother, and on leaving him noticed the clock on the stairs was 25 minutes 
to 9 p.m. F. L.'s sister, ongoing to him at 9 p.m., found him dead from 
rupture of the aorta. 

1 See Vol. ii., p. 37, first note, and the addition thereto in the " Additions and 
Corrections " at the beginning of Voh ii. 


" This is a plain statement of facts, and the only theory N. J. S. has on 
the subject is that at the supreme moment of death, F. L. must have felt a 
great wish to communicate with him, and in some way by force of will 
impressed his image on N. J. S.'s senses." 

In reply to our inquiries Mr. S. says : — 

" May 11th, 1883. 

" (1) My wife was sitting at a table in the middle of the room under 
a gas chandelier, either reading or doing some wool work. I was sitting 
on a couch at the side of the room in the shade ; she was not looking in the 
direction I was. I studiously spoke in a quiet manner to avoid alarming 
her ; she noticed nothing particular in me. 

" (2) I have never seen any appearance before, but have disbelieved 
in them, not seeing any motive. 

" (3) Mr. A. L. told me that in coming to inform me of his 
brother's death, he wondered what would be the best way of breaking 
the matter to me, when, without any reason except the knowledge of 
our strong mutual regard, it seemed to flash upon his mind that I might 
know it. 

"There had been no instances of thought-transmission between us. 

"There are many slight details which it is nearly impossible to 
describe in writing, so I may say that I shall be most willing to give you 
a personal account and answer any questions at any time you should be 
in town. 

" There is one thing which strikes me as singular — the instant 
certainty I felt that my friend was dead, as there was nothing to lead up 
to the idea ; and also that I seemed to accept all that passed without 
feeling surprise, and as if it were an ordinary matter of course. 

" N. J. S." 

Mrs. S. supplies the following corroboration : — 

"September 18th, 1883. 

" On the evening of the 24th March last, I was sitting at a table 
reading, my husband was sitting on a couch at the side of the room • he 
asked me the time, and on my replying 12 minutes to 9, he said, 'The 
reason why I ask is that L. is dead, I have just seen him.' I 
answered, ' What nonsense, you don't even know that he is ill ; I dare- 
say when you go to town on Tuesday you will see him all right.' 
However, he persisted in saying he had seen L., and was sure of his 
death. I noticed at the time that he looked very much agitated and was 
very pale " Maria S." 

We find from the Times obituary that F. L.'s death took place on 
March 24th, 1883. 

In a later communication Mr. S. says : — 

"February 23rd, 1885. 
" In compliance with your request, I have asked Mr. A. L. to send 
you the statement of what came to his knowledge with reference to 
the time of his brother's death. 

" I have often thought the matter over since. I am unable to satisfy 
my own mind as to the why of the occurrence, but I still adhere to every 
particular, having nothing to add or withdraw." 

p 2 


Mr. L.'s brother corroborates as follows : — 

" Bank of England. 

"February 24th, 1885. 

" Mr. S. having informed me that you have expressed a wish that I 
sliould corroborate some statements made by him relative to my brother 
Frederick's sudden death, I beg to send you the following particulars. 

" On Saturday, March 24th, 1883, my brother having been absent 
from business, I called about 8 p.m. to see him, and found him sitting up 
in his bedroom. I left him, apparently much better, and came down to 
the dining-room about 8.40, where I remained with my sister for about 
half-an-hour, when I left, and she, going upstairs, immediately upon my 
departure, found her brother lying dead upon the bed, so that the exact 
time of his death will never be known. On my way over to Mr. S. the next 
day, to break the news to him, the thought occurred to me— knowing the 
strong sympathy between them— 'I should not be surprised if he has had 
some presentiment of it ' ; and when he came to the door to meet me, I 
felt certain from his look that it was so, hence I said, ' You know what I 
have come for,' and he then told me that he had seen my brother Frederick 
in a vision a little before 9 on the previous evening. I must tell you I 
am no believer in visions, and have not always found presentiments 
correct ; yet I am perfectly certain of Mr. S.'s veracity, and having been 
asked to confirm him, willingly do so, though I strengthen a cause I am 

not a disciple of. 

" A. C. L." 

An attempt to form a numerical estimate of the probability (or 
improbability) that the coincidence in this case was accidental will 
be found in a subsequent chapter on " The Theory of Chance-Coin- 
cidence " (Vol. II., pp. 18-20). 

The next case again exhibits the slight deferment of the per- 
cipient's experience which I have already mentioned (p. 201). 
But its chief interest is as illustrating what may be called a local, as 
distinct from a personal, rapport between the parties concerned.^ 
The percipient, at the moment of his impression, was contemplating 
a spot with which the agent was specially connected, and which may 
even have had a very distinct place in her dying thoughts ; and it is 
natural to find in this fact a main condition why he, of all people, 
should have been the one impressed. The case was thus narrated to 
us by the Rev. C. T. Forster, Vicar of Hinxton, Saffron Walden :— 

"August 6th, 1885. 

(29) " My late parisliioner, Mrs. de Freville, was a somewhat eccentric 
lady, who was specially morbid on the subject of tombs, &c. 

" About two days after her death, which took place in London, May 
8th, in the afternoon, I heard that she had been seen that very night by 
Alfred Bard. I sent for him, and he gave me a very clear and circum 
stantial account of what he had seen. 

I As to this point, see "Vol. ii., pp. 268 and 301-2. 


" He is a man of great observation, being a self-taught naturalist, and 
I am quite satisfied that he desires to speak the truth without any 

" I must add that T am absolutely certain that the news of 
Mrs. do Freville's death did not reach Hinxton till the next morning, 
May 9th. She was found dead at 7.30 p.m. She had been left alone in 
her room, being poorly, but not considered seriously or dangerously ill. 

" C. T. FORSTER." 

The following is the percipient's own account : — 

"July 21st, 1885. 

" I am a gardener in employment at Sawston. I always go through 
Hinxton churchyard on my return home from work. On Friday, May 8th, 
1 885, I was walking back as usual. On entering the churchyard, I looked 
rather carefully at the ground, in order to see a cow and donkey which 
used to lie just inside the gate. In so doing, I looked straight at the 
square stone vault in which the late Mr. de Freville was at one time 
buried. I then saw Mrs. de Freville leaning on the rails, dressed much as 
I had usually seen her, in a coal-scuttle bonnet, black jacket with deep 
crape, and black dress. She was looking full at me. Her face was very 
white, much wliitcr than usual. I knew her well, having at one time 
been in her employ. I at once supposed that she had come, as she some- 
times did, to the mausoleum in her own park, in order to have it opened 
and go in. I supposed that Mr. Wiles, the mason from Cambridge, was 
in the tomb doing something. I walked round the tomb looking carefully 
at it, in order to see if the gate was open, keeping my eye on her and never 
more than five or six yards from her. Her face turned and followed me. 
I passed between the church and the tomb (there are about four yards 
between the two), and peered forward to see whether the tomb was open, 
as she hid the part of the tomb which opened. T slightly stumbled on a 
hassock of grass, and looked at my feet for a moment only. When I 
looked up she was gone. She could not possibly have got out of the 
churchyard, as in order to reach any of the exits she must have passed me. ^ 
So I took for granted that she had quickly gone into the tomb. I went 
up to the door, which I expected to find open, but to my surprise it was 
siiut and had not been opened, as there was no key in the lock. I rather 
hoped to have a look into the tomb myself, so I went back again and shook 
the gate to make sure, but there was no sign of any one's having been 
there. I was then much startled and looked at the clock, which marked 
9.20. When I got home I half thought it must have been my fancy, but 
I told my wife that I had seen Mrs. de Frt^ville. 

" Next day, when my little boy told me that she was dead, I gave a 
start, which my companion noticed, I was so much taken aback. 

" I have iiever had any other hallucination whatever. 

Ti/r T^ 1, . ,- • r- ,, "Alfred Bard." 

Mrs. iJard s testimony is as follows : — 

"July 8th, 1885. 

" When Mr. Bard came home he said, ' I have seen Mrs. de Freville 

to-night, leaning with her elbow on the palisade, looking at me. I turned 

again to look at her and she was gone. She had cloak and bonnet on.' 

1 See the remark within brackets, which foUows the case. 


He got home as usual between 9 and 10 ; it was on the 8th of May, 1885 

" Sarah Bard." 

The Times obituary confirms the date of the death. 

[Mr. Myers was conducted over Hinxton churchyard by Mr. Forster, 
and can attest the substantial accuracy of Mr. Bard's description of the 
relative position of the church, the tomb, and the exits. The words " must 
have passed me," however, give a slightly erroneous impression ; " must 
have come very near me " would be the more correct description.] 

The next case is of a more abnormal type. We received the first 
account of it — the percipient's evidence — through the kindness of 
Mrs. Martin, of Ham Court, Upton-on-Severn, Worcester. 

"Antony, Torpoint, December 14th, 1882. 

(30) " Helen Alexander (maid to Lady Waldegrave) was lying here very 
ill with typhoid fever, and was attended by me. I was standing at the table 
by her bedside, pouring out her medicine, at about 4 o'clock in the morning 
of the 4th October, 18b0. I heard the call-bell ring (this had been heard 
twice before during the night in that same week), and was attracted by the 
door of the room opening,^ and by seeing a person entering the room whom 
I instantly felt to be the mother of the sick woman. She had a brass 
candlestick in her hand, a red shawl over her shoulders, and a flannel 
petticoat on which had a hole in the front. I looked at her as much as to 
say, ' I am glad you have come,' but the woman looked at me sternly, as 
much as to say, ' Why wasn't I sent for before 1 ' I gave the medicine to 
Helen Alexander, and then turned round to speak to the vision, but no one 
was there. She had gone. She was a short, dark person, and very stout. 
At about 6 o'clock that morning Helen Alexander died. Two days after 
her parents and a sister came to Antony, and arrived between 1 and 2 
o'clock in the morning ; I and another maid let them in, and it gave me a 
great turn when I saw the living likeness of the vision I had seen two 
nights before. I told the sister about the vision, and she said that the 
description of the dress exactly answered to her mother's, and that they had 
brass candlesticks at home exactly like the one described. There was not 
the slightest resemblance between the mother and daughter. 

"Frances Reddell." 

This at first sight might be taken for a mere delusion of an 
excitable or over-tired servant, modified and exaggerated by the 
subsequent sight of the real mother. If such a case is to have 
evidential force, we must ascertain beyond doubt that the description 
of the experience was given in detail before any knowledge of the 
reality can have affected the percipient's memory or imagination. 
This necessary corroboration has been kindly supplied by Mrs. Pole- 

Carew, of Antony, Torpoint, Devonport. 

"December 31st, 1883. 

" In October, 1880, Lord and Lady Waldegrave came with their Scotch 

maid, Helen Alexander, to stay with us. [The account then describes how 

Helen was discovered to have caught typhoid fever.] She did not seem to 

be very ill in spite of it, and as there seemed no fear of danger, and Lord 

i See p. 102, note. 


jind Lady Waldegrave had to go a long joui-ney the following day 
(Thursday), they decided to leave her, as they were advised to do, under 
their friends' care. 

" The illness ran its usual course, and she seemed to be going on per- 
fectly well till the Sunday week following, when the doctor told nie that 
the fever had left her, but the state of weakness which had supervened was 
such as to make him extremely anxious. I immediately engaged a regular 
nurse, greatly against the wish of Reddell, my maid, who had been her 
chief nurse all tlirough the illness, and who was quite devoted to her. 
However, as the nurse could not conveniently come till the following day, 
1 allowed Reddell to sit up with Helen again that night, to give her the 
medicine and food, which were to be taken constantly. 

"At about 4.30 that night, or rather Monday morning, Reddell looked at 
her watch, poured out the medicine, and was bending over the bed to give 
it to Helen, when the call-bell in the passage rang. She said to herself, 
' There's that tiresome bell with the wire caught again.' (It seems it did 
occasionally ring of itself in this manner.) At that moment, however, she 
heard the door open, and looking round, saw a very stout old woman walk 
in. She was dressed in a nightgown and red flannel petticoat, and cai-ried 
an old-fashioned brass candlestick in her hand. The petticoat had a hole 
rubbed in it. She walked into the room, and appeared to be going towards 
the dressing-table to put her candle down. She was a perfect stranger to 
Reddell, who, however, merely thought, ' This is her mother come to see 
after her,' and she felt quite glad it was so, accepting the idea without 
reasoning upon it, as one would \fv a dream. She thought the mother looked 
annoyed, possibly at not having been sent for before. She then gave 
Helen the medicine, and turning round, found that the apparition had dis- 
appeared, and that the door was shut. A great change, meanwhile, had 
taken place in Helen, and Reddell fetched me, who sent ofF for the doctor, 
and meanwhile applied hot poultices, (fee, but Helen died a little before 
the doctor came. She was quite conscious up to about half-an-hour before 
she died, when she seemed to be going to sleep. 

" During the early days of her illness Helen had written to a sister, 
mentioning her being unwell, but making nothing of it, and as she never 
mentioned anyone but this sister, it was supposed by the household, to 
whom she was a perfect stranger, that she had no other relation alive. 
Reddell was always ofiering to write for her, but she always declined, 
saying there was no need, she would write herself in a day or two. No 
one at home, therefore, knew anything of her being so ill, and it is, there- 
fore, remarkable that her mother, a far from nervous person, should have 
said that evening going up to bed, ' I am sure Helen is very ill.' 

" Reddell told me and my daughter of the apparition, about an hour 
after Helen's death, prefacing Avith, ' I am not superstitious, or nervous, 
and I wasn't the least frightened, but her mother came last night,' and she 
then told the story, giving a careful description of the figure she had seen. 
The relations were asked to come to the funeral, and the father, mother, 
and sister came, and in the mother Reddell recognised the apparition, as T 
did also, for Reddell's description had been most accurate, even to the 
expression, which she had ascribed to annoyance, but which was due to 
deafness. It was judged best not to speak about it to the mother, but 
Reddell told the sister, who said the description of the figure corresponded 


exactly with the probable appearance of her mother if roused in the night ; 
that they had exactly such a candlestick at home, and that there was a 
hole in her mother's petticoat produced by the way she always wore it. It 
seems curious that neither Helen nor her mother appeared to be aware of 
the Adsit. Neither of them, at any rate, ever spoke of having seen the 
other, nor even of having dreamt of having done so. 

" F. A. Pole-Carew." 
Frances Reddell states that she has never had any hallucination, or 
any odd experience of any kind, except on this one occasion. The Hon. 
Mrs. Lyttelton, of Selwyn College, Cambridge, who knows her, tells us 
that " she appears to be a most matter-of-fact person, and was appa- 
rently most impressed by the fact that she saw a hole in the mother's 
flannel petticoat, made by the busk of her stays, reproduced in the 

Mrs. Pole-Carew's evidence goes far to stamp this occurrence as 
having been something more than a mere subjective hallucination. 
But it will be observed that there is some doubt as to who was 
the agent. Was it the mother ? If so, we find nothing more 
definite on the agent's part, as a basis for the distant effect, 
than a certain amount of anxiety as to her daughter's condition ; 
while the fact that Reddell and she were totally unknowTi 
to one another, would show, even more conclusively than the two 
preceding narratives, that a special personal rapport between the 
parties is not a necessary condition for spontaneous telepathic 
transference. Thus regarded, the case would considerably resemble 
the instance of local rapport last quoted — the condition of the 
telepathic impression being presumably the common occupation of 
the mind of both agent and percipient with one subject, the d3dng 
girl. But it is also conceivable that Helen herself was the agent ; 
and that in her dying condition a flash of memory of her mother's 
aspect conveyed a direct impulse to the mind of her devoted nurse. 

The last five cases have all been recent. I will now give an 
example which is 70 years old. It will show the value that even 
remote evidence may have, if proper care is exercised at the time ; 
and it points the moral which must be enforced ad nauseam, as 
to the importance of an immediate written record on the percipient's 
part. The account was received fi"om Mrs. Browne, of 58, Porchester 
Terrace, W. On May 29th, 1884, Mr. Podmore wrote : — 

"May 29th, 1884. 

(31) "I called to-day on Mrs. Browne, and saw (1) a document in the 

handwriting of her mother, Mrs. Carslake (now dead), which purported 

to be a copy of a memorandum made by Mrs. Browne's father, the late 

Captain John Carslake, of Sidmouth. Appended to this was (2) a note. 


also in Mrs. Carslake's handwriting, and signed by her; and (3) a 
copy also in Mrs. Carslake's handwriting, of a letter from the Rev. E. 
B r, of Hidmouth. 

" Mrs. Browne told me that, as far as she knows, the originals of (1) 
and (3) are no longer in existence. 

" Document (4) is a note from Mrs. Browne herself. 

" The Middleburg referred to is apparently the town of tliat name 
in the Netherlands." 


"Thursday, July the 6th, 1815. — On returning to-day from Middle- 
burg with Captain T., I was strongly impressed with the idea that 
between 2 and 3 I saw my uncle John cross the road, a few paces before 
me, and pass into a lane on the left leading to a mill, called Oily Moulin, 
and that when he arrived at the edge of the great road, he looked round 
and beckoned to me. 

"Query. — As he has long been dangerously ill, may not this be 
considered as an omen of his having died about this time 1 

"JoHX Carslake." 

" He had not been thinking of his uncle, but talking with Captain T. 
about a sale where they had been ; he was quite silent afterwards, and 
would not tell the reason. On going on board, he went to his cabin and 
wrote the time he saw his uncle, and wrote to Mr. B. 

" T. Carslake." 


" Long, in all probability, before this can reach you, you will have 
been informed that, precisely at the minute in which his apparition crossed 
your path in the neighbourhood of Middleburg, your dear and venerable 
uncle expired. I think it proves, beyond all contradiction, that his last 
and affectionate thoughts were fixed on you. The fact you have stated 
is the strongest of the kind, in which I could place such full confidence 
in the parties, that / ever knew. — E. B." 

[Judging from Mr. Carslake's own account, it seems unlikely that 

the writer of this can have known the coincidence to have been as close 

as he describes.] 


"May 29th, 1884. 

"I remember more than once hearing this story, exactly as it is told 
here, from my father's own lips. I remember that he added that the 
figure wore a peculiar hat, which he recognised as being like one worn 
by his uncle. '' " T. L. Browne." 

The next example repeats the peculiarity that the percipient's 
impression, though uniqvie in his experience, did not at the moment 
suggest the agent; but it differs, as will be seen, from Frances 
Reddell's case. We received it from the Rev. Robert Bee, 
now residing at 12, Whitworth Road, Grangetown, near Southbank, 


" Colin Street, Wigan. 

"December 30th, 1883. 
(32) "On December 18th, 1873, I left my house in Lincolnshire to 
visit ray wife's parents, then and now residing in Lord Street, Southport. 
Both my parents were, to all appearance, in good health when I started. 
The next day after my arrival was spent in leisurely observation of the 
manifold attractions of this fashionable seaside resort. I spent the evening 
in company with my wife in the I )ay -wind owed drawing-room upstairs, 
which fronts the main street of the town. I proposed a game at chess, 
and we got out the board and began to play. Perhaps half-an-hour had 
been thus occupied by us, during which I had made several very foolish 
mistakes. A deep melancholy was oppressing me. At length I remarked : 
' It is no use my trying to play, I cannot for the life think about what I 
am doing. Shall we shut it up and resume our talk 1 I feel literally 

" ' Just as you like,' said my wife, and the board was at once put 

" This was about half-past 7 o'clock ; and after a few minutes' 
desultory conversation, my wife suddenly remarked : '/ feel very dull 
to-night. I think I will go downstairs to mamma, for a few minutes.' 

" Soon after my wife's departure, I rose from my chair, and walked in 
the direction of the drawing-room door. Here I paused for a moment, 
and then passed out to the landing of the stairs. 

" It was then exactly 10 minutes to 8 o'clock. I stood for a moment 
upon the landing, and a lady, dressed as if she were going on a business 
errand, came out, apparently, from an adjoining bedroom, and passed close 
by me. I did not distinctly see her features, nor do I remember what it 
was that I said to her. 

" The form passed down the naiTow winding stairs, and at the same 
instant my wife came up again, so that she must have passed close to the 
stranger, in fact, to all appearance, brushed against her. 

" I exclaimed, almost immediately, ' Who is the lady, Polly, that you 
passed just now, coming up ? ' 

" Never can I forget, or account for, my wife's answer. ' I passed 
nobody,' she .said. 

" ' Nonsense,' I replied ; ' You met a lady just now, dressed for a walk. 
She came out of the little bedroom. I spoke to her. She must be a 
visitor staying with your mother. She has gone out, no doubt, at the 
front door.' 

" ' It is impossible,' said my wife. ' There is not any company in the 
house. They all left nearly a week ago. There is no one in fact at all 
indoors, but ourselves and mamma.' 

" ' Strange,' I said ; ' I am certain that I saw and spoke to a lady, just 
before you came upstairs, and I saw her distinctly pass you ; ^ so that it 
seems incredible that you did not perceive her.' 

" My wife positively asserted that the thing was impossible. We went 
downstairs together, and I related the story to my wife's mother, who was 
busy with her household duties. She confirmed her daughter's previous 
statement. There was no one in the house but ourselves. 

1 In conversation Mr. Bee reiterated to me his certainty as to having seen the two 
figures simultaneously. 


" The next morning, early, a telegram reached me from Lincolnshire ; 
it was from my elder sister, Julia (Mrs T. W. Bowman, of Prospect 
House, Stechford, Birmingham), and announced the afflicting intelligence 
that our dear mother had passed suddenly away the night before ; and 
that we {i.e., myself and wife) were to return home to Gainsborough by 
the next train. The doctor said it was heart-disease, which in a few 
minutes had caused her death." 

After giving some details of his arrival at home, and of the kindness 
of friends, Mr. Bee continues : — 

"When all was over and Christmas Day had arrived, I ventured to 
ask my brother the exact moment of our mother's death. 

" ' Well, father was out,' he said, ' at the school-room, and I did not see 
her alive. Julia was just in time to see her breathe her last. It was, as 
nearly as I can recollect, 10 minutes to 8 o'clock.^ 

" I looked at my wife for a moment, and then said : ' Then I saw 
her in Southport, and can now account, unaccountably, for my impres- 

" Before the said 19th of December I was utterly careless of these 
things ; I had given little or no attention to spiritual apparitions or 
impressions. " Robt. Bee." 

In answer to inquiries, Mr. Bee adds : — 

" My mother died in her dress and boots ; she was taken ill in the 
street, and had to be taken to a neighbour's house in Gainsborough a few 
paces from her own house. The figure resembled my mother exactly as to 
size, dress, and appearance, but it did not recall her to my mind at the 
time. The light was not so dim that, if my mother had actually passed me 
in flesh and blood, I should not have recognised her." 

We learn from the obituary notice in the Lincolnshire Chronicle that 
Mr. Bee's mother died on December 19, 1873, in Mr. Smithson's shop, 
in Gainsborough, of heart-disease ; and that her usual health was pretty 

In answer to the question whether this is the only case of hallucina- 
tion that he has experienced, Mr. Bee answers " Yes." 

He further adds : 

" The gas light over the head of the stairway shone within a frostea 
globe, and was probably not turned owfnlly. 

" The fact is, there was ample light to see the figure in, but just as 
the face might have been turned to me, or was turned to me, I could not, 
or did not, clearly discern it. Many, many times, my regret and dis- 
appointment when I recall this fact have been deeply felt." 

Mrs. Bee writes to us as follows : — 

"January 9th, 1884. 

" If anything I can say to you will be of any use, I will willingly give 
my testimony to all my husband has said. I remember perfectly ten years 
ago my visit to my mother's, and my husband's unaccountable restlessness 
on the particular evening mentioned, also Mr. Bee asking me, after I had 
been downstairs, if I had met a lady on the stairs. I said, ' No, I do not 
think there is any one in the house but us.' Mr. Bee then said, ' W^ell, a 
lady has passed me just now on the landing ; she came out of the small 


bedroom and went downstairs ; she was dressed in a black bonnet and 
shawl.' I said, ' Nonsense, you must be mistaken.' He said, ' I am 
certain I am not, and I assure you I feel very queer.' I then went to 
ask mamma if there was anyone in tlie liouse, and she said no, only 
ourselves ; still Mr. Bee insisted someone had passed him on the landing, 
although we tried to reason him out of it. 

" In the morning while we were in bed, we received a telegram stating 
that Mrs. Bee had died suddenly the night before. I said at once, ' Robert, 
that was your mother you saw last night. ' He said it was. When we got 
to Gainsborough we asked what time she died ; we were told about 10 
minutes to 8, which was the exact time ; also that she was taken suddenly 
ill in the street (wearing at the time a black bonnet and shawl) and died 
in 10 minutes. 

" Mary Ann Bee." 

Mrs. Bourne, a sister of Mr. Bee's, writes to us : — 

" Eastgate Lodge, Lincoln. 

"October 2nd, 1885. 

"My mother died on December 19th, 1873, about 10 minutes to 8 in 
the evening ; it might be a little later or a little earlier. Her attack 
resembled a fainting fit, and lasted from 30 to 40 minutes. At the 
commencement of it, she said a few words to my sister, when I was not 
present ; afterwards I believe she never opened her eyes or spoke again, 
though we tried our utmost to induce her to do so. 

" Marian Bourne." 

If this case is accurately reported, the figure seen cannot be 
supposed to have been a real person ; for — to say nothing of the 
unlikelihood that a strange lady would be on the upper floor on some 
unknown errand — Mrs. Bee, who seemed to her husband to come 
into actual contact with the figure, could hardly have failed to 
observe that some one passed her on the stairs. The fact that 
the form did not at the moment suggest Mr. Bee's mother 
tends, no doubt, to weaken the case as evidence for telepathy, 
to this extent, — that if a person has the one hallucination 
of his life at the moment that a near relative dies, this singular 
coincidence may with less violence be ascribed to accident if the hallu- 
cination is merely an appearance — an unrecognised figure — than if it 
is the appearance of that particular relative. The phantasm not being 
individualised, the conditions for the operation of chance are so far 
widened. Still, there are two strong evidential points. The coin- 
cidence of time seems to have been precise ; and the resemblance 
to the supposed agent " as to size, dress, and appearance " is described 
as exact. As for any theoretic difficulty that might be felt in the 
fact of non-recognition, I will make at this point only one remark. 


If we are prepared (as experiment has prepared us) to admit that 

telepathic impressions need not even affect consciousness at all — if it 

is possible for some of them to remain completely unfelt — it does not 

seem specially surprising that others should issue on the mental stage 

with various degrees of distinctness and completeness. 

§ 7. So much for visual examples. I will now give an illustration 

of externalised impressions of the auditory sort. The case differs in 

another respect from the foregoing visual examples ; for though, as 

in most of them, the agent died, the percipient's experience 'preceded 

the death by some hours ; and that being so, we must clearly connect 

this experience with the serious condition in which her friend 

actually was, not with that in which he was about to be. The 

narrative is from a lady who prefers that her name and address 

should not be published. She is a person of thorough good sense, 

and with no appetite for marvels. 


(33) "On the morning of October 27th, 1879, being in perfect health 
and having been awake for some considerable time, I heard myself called 
by my Christian name by an anxious and suffering voice, several times in 
succession. I recognised the voice as that of an old friend, almost play- 
fellow, but who had not been in my thoughts for many weeks, or even 
months. I knew he was with his regiment in India, but not that he liad 
been ordered to the front, and nothing had recalled him to my recollection. 
Within a few days I heard of his death from cholera on the morning I 
seemed to hear his call. The impression was so strong I noted the date 
and fact in my diary before breakfast." 

In answer to inquiries, the narrator says : — 

"I was never conscious of any other auditory hallucination whatever. 
I do not think I mentioned the subject to any one, as I believe we 
had friends with us. I still have my diary preserved." 

The present writer has seen the page of the diary, and the reference 
to the strange experience, under the date of Monday, October 27th, 1879. 

We lind from the East India Service Register for January, 1880, 
that the death of Captain John B., Native Infantry (Bombay Division), 
took place on October 27th, 1879, at Jhelum. (This is the gentleman 
referred to in the account.) The Times obituary of November 4th, 1879, 
mentions that the death was due to cholera. 

Our informant was requested to find out the exact hour of the death, 
and learnt that it took place, not in the morning, as she had supposed, 
but at 10 p.m. (about 5 p.m. in England). She adds : " So that would not 
make the time agree with the hour of hearing his call. The cry may have 
come, however, when the illness began first." 

In the last-quoted visual example, the iigure seen was unrecog- 


nised. I will now give a parallel auditory case, where the sound 
heard by the percipient suggested at the moment no particular 
person. The account is from a gentleman of good position, whom I 
must term Mr. A. Z. He is as far removed as possible from supersti- 
tion, and takes no general interest in the subject. He has given us the 
full names of all the persons concerned, but is unwilling that they should 
be published, on account of the painful character of the event recorded. 

"May, 1885. 

(34) " In 1876, I was living in a small agricultural parish in the East 
of England, one of my neighbours at the time being a young man, S. B.,^ 
who had recently come into the occupation of a large farm in the place. 
Pending the alteration of his house, he lodged and boarded with his groom 
at the other end of the village, furthest removed from my own residence, 
which was half a mile distant and separated by many houses, gardens, a 
plantation, and farm buildings. He was fond of field sports, and spent 
much of his spare time during the season in hunting. He was not a 
personal friend of mine, only an acquaintance, and I felt no interest in 
him except as a tenant on the estate. I have asked him occasionally to 
my house, as a matter of civility, but to the best of my recollection was 
never inside his lodgings. 

"One afternoon in March, 1876, when leaving, along with my wife, 
our railway station to walk home, I was accosted by S. B. ; he accompanied 
us as far as my front gate, where he kept us in conversation for some 
time, but on no special subject. I may now state that the distance from 
this gate, going along the carriage drive, to the dining and breakfast room 
windows is about 60 yards ; both the windows of these rooms face the 
north-east and are parallel with the carriage drive. '^ On S. B. taking leave 
of us my wife remarked, ' Young B. evidently wished to be asked in, but 
I thought you would not care to be troubled with him.' Subsequently — 
about lialf-an-hour later — I again met him, and, as I was then on my way 
to look at some work at a distant part of the estate, asked him to walk 
with me, which he did. His conversation was of the ordinary character; 
if anything, he seemed somewhat depressed at the bad times and the low 
prices of farming produce. I remember he asked me to give him some 
wire rope to make a fence on his farm, which I consented to do. Return- 
ing from our walk, and on entering the village, I pulled up at the cross- 
roads to say good evening, the road to his lodgings taking him at right 
angles to mine. I was surprised to hear him say, ' Come and smoke a 
cigar with me to-night.' To which I replied, 'I cannot very well, I am 
engaged this evening.' ' Do come,' he said. 'No,' I replied, ' I will look 
in another evening.' And with this we parted. We had separated about 
40 yards when he turned around and exclaimed, ' Then if you will not 
come, good-bye.' This was the last time I saw him alive. 

" I spent the evening in my dining-room in writing, and for some hours 
I may say that probably no thought of young B. passed through my mind. 
The night was bright and clear, full or nearly full moon, still, and without 

1 These are not the right initials of the name. 

2 The position of the house, as I found on visiting it, is particularly retired and quiet. 


wind. Since I had come in slight snow had fallen, just sufficient to make 
the ground show white. 

" At about 5 minutes to 10 o'clock I got up and left the room, taking 
up a lamp from the hall table, and replacing it on a small table standing in 
a recess of the window in the breakfast-room. The curtains were not 
drawn across the window. I had just taken down from the nearest book- 
case a volume of ' Macgillivray's British Birds ' for reference, and was in 
the act of reading the passage, the book held close to the lamp, and my 
shoulder touching the window shutter, and in a position in which almost 
the slightest outside sound would be heard, when I distinctly heard the 
front gate opened and shut again with a clap, and footsteps advancing at 
a run up the drive ; when opposite the window the steps changed from 
sharp and distinct on gravel to dull and less clear on the grass slip below 
the window, and at the same time I was conscious tliat someone or some- 
thing stood close to me outside, only the thin shutter and a sheet of glass 
dividing us. I could hear the quick panting laboured breathing of the 
messenger, or whatever it was, as if trying to recover breath before 
speaking. Had he been atti^acted by the light through the shutter 1 
Suddenly, like a gunshot, inside, outside, and all around, there broke out 
the most appalling shriek — a prolonged wail of horror, which seemed to 
freeze the blood, it was not a single shriek, but more prolonged, com- 
mencing in a high key, and then less and less, wailing away towards the 
north, and becoming weaker and weaker as it receded in sobbing pulsations 
of intense agony. Of my fright and horror I can say nothing — increased 
tenfold when I walked into the dining-room and found my wife sitting quietly 
at her work close to the window, in the same line and distant only 10 or 
12 feet from the corresponding window in the breakfast-room. She had 
heard nothing. I could see that at once ; and from the position in which 
she was sitting, 1 knew she could not have failed to hear any noise outside 
and any footstep on the gravel. Perceiving I was alarmed about some- 
thing, she asked, 'What is the matter?' ' Only someone outside,' I said. 
* Then why do you not go out and see 1 You always do when you hear 
any unusual noise.' I said, ' Thei-e is something so queer and dreadful 
about the noise. I dare not face it. It must have been the Banshee 

" Young S. B., on leaving me, went home to his lodgings. He spent 
most of the evening on the sofa, reading one of Whyte Melville's novels. 
He saw his groom at 9 o'clock and gave him orders for the following day. 
The groom and his wife, who were the only people in the house besides 
S. B., then went to bed. 

" At the inquest the groom stated that when about falling asleep, he 
was suddenly aroused by a shriek, and on running into his master's room 
found him expiring on the floor. It appeared that young B. had undressed 
upstairs, and then came down to his sitting-room in trousers and night- 
shirt, had poured out half-a-glass of water, into which he emptied a small 
bottle of prussic acid (procured that morning under the plea of poisoning 
a dog, which he did not possess). He walked upstairs, and on entering 
his room drank off" the glass, and with a scream fell dead on the floor. All 
this happened, as near as I can ascertain, at the exact time when I had 
been so much alarmed at my own house. It is utterly impossible that any 
sound short of a cannon shot could have reached me from B.'s lodgings. 


througli closed windows and doors, and the many intervening obstacles of 
houses and gardens, farmsteads and plantations, &c. 

" Having to leave home by the early train, I was out very soon on the 
following morning, and on going to examine the ground beneath the 
window found no footsteps on grass or drive, still covered with tlie slight 
sprinkling of snow which had fallen on the previous evening. 

" The whole thing liad been a dream of the moment — an imagination, 
call it what you will ; I simply state these facts as they occurred, without 
attempting any explanation, which, indeed, I am totally unable to give. 
The entire incide)it is a mystery, and will ever remain a mystery to me. I 
did not hear the particulars of the tragedy till the following afternoon, 
having left home by an early train. The motive of suicide was said to be 
a love affair." 

In a subsequent letter dated June 12th, 1885, Mr. A. Z. says : — 

" The suicide took place in this parish on Thursday night, March 9th, 
1876, at or about 10 p.m. The inquest was held on Saturday, 11th, by 

, the then coroner. He has been dead some years, or I might perhaps 

have been able to obtain a copy of his notes then taken. You will 

probably find some notice of the inquest in the of March 17th. I 

did not myself hear any particulars of the event till my return home on 
Friday afternoon, 17 hours afterwards. The slight snow fell about 8 o'clock 
— not later. After this the night was bright and tine, and very still. 
There was also a rather sharp frost. I have evidence of all this to satisfy 
any lawyer. 

" I went early the next morning under the window to look for 
footsteps, just before leaving home for the day. Perhaps it is not quite 
correct to call it snow ; it was small frozen sleet and hail, and the grass 
blades just peeped through, but there was quite enough to have shown any 
steps had there been any. 

" I was not myself at the inquest, so in that case only speak from 
hearsay. In my narrative I say the groom was awoke by 'g, shriek,' I 
have asked the man [name given], and cross-questioned him closely on this 
point ; and it is more correct to say by ' a series of noises ending in a 
crash ' or ' heavy fall.' This is most probably correct, as the son of the 
tenant [name given], living in the next house, was aroused by the same 
sort of sound coming through the wall of the house into the adjoining 
bedroom in which he was sleeping. 

" I do not, however, wish it to be understood that any material noises 
heard in that house or the next had any connection with the peculiar noises 
and scream which frightened me so much, as anyone knowing the locality 
must admit at once the irivpossihility of such sounds travelling under any 
conditions through intervening obstacles. I only say that the scene enacted 
in the one was coincident with my alarm and the phenomena attending it 
in the other. 

" I find by reference to the book of , chemist, of , that 

the poison was purchased by young S. B., on March 8th. I enclose 
a note from Mrs. A. Z., according to your request." 

The enclosed note, signed by Mrs. A. Z., also dated June 12th, 188.5, 
is as follows : — 


"I am able to testify that on the night of March 9th, 1876, about 10 
o'clock, my husband, who had gone into the adjoining room to consult a 
book, was greatly alarmed by sounds which he heard, and described as the 
gate clapping, footsteps on the drive and grass, and heavy breathing close 
to the window — then a fearful screaming. 

" I did not hear anything. He did not go to look round the house, as 
he would have done at any other time, and when I afterwards asked him 
why he did not go out, he replied, ' Because I felt I could not.' On going 
to bed he took his gun upstairs ; and when I asked him why, said, 
' Because there must be someone about.' 

" He left home early in the morning, and did not hear of the suicide of 
Mr. S. B. until the afternoon of that day." 

An article which we have seen in a local newspaper, describing the 
suicide and inquest, conhrms the above account of them. 

Asked if he had had any similar affections which had 7iot corresponded 
with reality, Mr. A. Z. replied in the negative. 

The criticism made on Mr. Bee's case will of course apply again 
here ; the percipient's failure to connect his impression with the 
agent is, pro tanto, an evidential defect. But the fact remains that 
he received an impression of a vividly distressful and horrible kind — 
of a type, too, rarely met with as a purely subjective hallucination 
among sane and healthy persons ^ — at the very time that his 
companion of a few hours back was in the agony of a supreme crisis. 

§ 8. Telepathic impressions of the sense of toucJc are naturally 
hard to establish, unless some other sense is also affected. In the cases 
in our collection, at all events, a mere impression of touch has rarely, 
if ever, been sufficiently remarkable or distinctive for purposes of 
evidence. The case, therefore, which I select to illustrate tactile 
impression is one where the sense of hearing was also concerned. 
And the example, as it happens, will serve a double purpose ; for 
it will also illustrate the phenomenon of reciprocality, which, as I 
have said, we make the basis of a separate class (F). The 
narrator is again the Rev. P. H. Newnham, of whose telepathic 
rapport with his wife we have had such striking experimental proof, 
and who describes himself as " an utter sceptic, in the true sense of 
the word." 

(35) " In March, 1854, I was up at Oxford, keeping my last term, in 
lodgings. I was subject to violent neuralgic headaches, which always 
culminated in sleep. One evening, about 8 p.m., I had an unusually 
violent one ; when it became unendurable, about 9 p.m., I went into 

1 See Chapter xi., § 4. 


my bedroom, and flung myself, without undressing, on the bed, and soon 
fell asleep. 

" I then had a singularly clear and vivid dream, all the incidents of 
which are still as clear to my memory as ever. I dreamed that I was 
stopping with the family of the lady who subsequently became my wife. 
All the younger ones had gone to bed, and I stopped chatting to the father 
and mother, standing up by the fireplace. Presently I bade them good- 
night, took my candle, and went off to bed. On arriving in the hall, I 
perceived that my fiancee had been detained downstairs, and was only then 
near the top of the staircase. I rushed upstairs, overtook her on the top 
step, and passed my two arms round her waist, under her arms, from 
behind. Although I was carrying my candle in my left hand, 
when I ran upstairs, this did not, in my dream, interfere with this 

" On this I woke, and a clock in the house struck 10 almost immedi- 
ately afterwards. 

" So strong was the impression of the dream that I wrote a detailed 
account of it next morning to my fiancee. 

" Crossing my letter, not in answer to it, I received a letter from the 
lady in question : ' Were you thinking about me, very specially, last 
night, just about 10 o'clock? For, as I was going upstairs to bed, I 
distinctly heard your footsteps on the stairs, and felt you put your 
arms round my waist.' 

" The letters in question are now destroyed, but we verified the state- 
ment made therein some years later, when we read over our old letters, 
previous to their destruction, and we found that our personal recollections 
had not varied in the least degree therefrom. The above narratives may, 
therefore, be accepted as absolutely accurate. up jj_ Newnham." 

Asked if his wife has ever had any other hallucinations, Mr. Newnham 
replied, ' No, Mrs. N. never had any fancy of either myself or any one else 
being present on any other occasion." 

The following is Mrs. Newnham's account : — 

"June 9th, 1884. 

" I remember distinctly the circumstance which my husband has 
described as corresponding with his dream. I was on my way up to bed, 
as usual, about 10 o'clock, and on reaching the first landing I heard 
distinctly the footsteps of the gentleman to whom I was engaged, quickly 
mounting the stairs after me, and then I as plainly felt him put his arms 
round my waist. So strong an impression did this make upon me that I 
wrote the very next morning to the gentleman, asking if he had been 
particularly thinking of me at 10 o'clock the night before, and to my 
astonishment I received (at the same time that my letter would reach him) 
a letter from him describing his dream, in almost the same words that 
I had used in describing my impression of his presence. 

" M. Newnham." 

[It is unfortunate that the actual letters cannot be put in evidence. 
But Mr. Newnham's distinct statement that the letters were examined, 
and the coincidence verified, some years after the occurrence, strongly 
confirms his own and his wife's recollections of the original incident.] 


In this case it would, no doubt, be possible to suppose that Mr. 
Newnham was the sole agent, and that his normal dream was the 
source of his fiancee)^ abnormal hallucination. But it is at 
least equally natural to suppose a certain amount of reciprocal 
percipience — a mutual influence of the two parties on one another. 
We shall meet with more conclusive examples of the mutual effect 
further on ; and it need in no way disturb our conception of telepathy. 
For if once the startling fact that A's mind can affect B's at a distance 
be admitted, there seems no a priori reason for either affirm- 
ing or denying that the conditions of this affection are favourable 
to a reverse telepathic communication from B's mind to A's. 
Indeed, if in our ignorance of the nature of these conditions any 
sort of surmise were legitimate, it might perhaps rather lean to 
the probability of the reciprocal influence ; and the natural question 
might seem to be, not why this feature is present, but why it is 
so generally absent. Meanwhile it is enough to note the type, and 
observe that the telepathic theory, as so far evolved, will sufficiently 
cover it. 

§ 9. Finally, the class oi collective percipience (G) may be illustrated 
by an instance which (since visual cases have preponderated in this 
chapter) I will again select from the auditory group. It was received 
in the summer of 1885, from Mr. John Done, of Stockley Cottage, 
Stretton, Warrington. 

(36) " My sister-in-law, Sarah Eustance, of Stretton, was lying sick 
unto death, and my wife was gone over to there from Lowton Chapel (12 
or 1 3 miles off), to see her and tend her in lier last moments. And on the 
night before lier death (some 12 or 14 hours before) I was sleeping at 
home alone, and awaking, heard a voice distinctly call me. Thinking it 
was my niece, Rosanna, the only other occupant of the house, who might 
be sick or in trouble, I went to her room and found her awake and 
nervous. I asked her whether she had called me. She answered, ' No ; 
but something awoke me, when I heard someone calling ! ' 

" On my wife returning home after her sister's death, she told me how 
anxious her sister had been to see me, ' craving for me to be sent for,' 
and saying, ' Oh, how I want to see Done once more ! ' and soon after 
became speechless. But the curious part was that about the same time 
she was ' craving,' I and my niece heard the call. "John Done." 

In a subsequent letter Mr. Done writes : — 

" In answer to your queries respecting the voice or call that I heard 
on the night of July 2nd, 1866, I must explain that there was a strong 
sympathy and affection between myself and my sister-in-law, of pure 
brotherly and sisterly love ; and that she was in the habit of calling me 
by the title of ' Uncle Done,' in the manner of a husband calling his wife 

Q 2 


' mother ' when there are children, as in this case. Hence the call being 
' Uncle, uncle, uncle ! ' leading me to think that it was my niece (the only 
other occupant of the house that Sunday night) calling to me. 

" Copy of funeral card : ' In remembrance of the late Sarah Eustance, 
who died July 3rd, 1866, aged 45 years, and was this day interred at 
Stretton Church, July 6th, 1866.' 

" My wife, who went from Lowton that particular Sunday to see her 
sister, will testify that as she attended upon her (after the departure of 
the minister), during the night she was wishing and craving to see me, 
repeatedly saying, ' Oh, I wish I could see Uncle Done and Rosie once 
more before I go ! ' and soon after then she became unconscious, or at 
least ceased speaking, and died the next day ; of which fact I was not aware 
until my wife returned on the evening of the 4th of July. 

" I hope my niece will answer for me ; however, I may state that she 
reminds me that she thought I was calling her and was coming to me, 
when she met me in the passage or landing, and I asked her if she called me. 

"I do not remember ever hearing a voice or call besides the above case." 

On August 7th, 1885, Mr. Done writes : — 

" My wife being sick and weak of body, dictates the following state- 
ment to me : — 

" I, Elizabeth Done, wife of John Done, and aunt to Rosanna Done 
(now Sewill), testify that, on the 2nd of July, 1866, I was attending 
upon my dying sister, Sarah Eustance, at Stretton, 1 2 miles from my home 
at Lowton Chapel, Newton le Willows ; when during the night previous to 
her death, she craved for me to send for my husband and niece, as she 
wished to see them once more before she departed hence, saying often ' Oh, 
I wish Done and Rosie were here. Oh, I do long to see Uncle Done.' 
Soon after she became speechless and seemingly unconscious, and died 
some time during the day following. u Elizabeth Done." 

Mr. Done adds : — 

" Several incidents have come to my mind, one of which is that, feeling 
unsettled in my mind during the day after having heard the voice calling 
me, and feeling a presentiment that my dear sister-in-law was dead, I, 
towards evening, set off to meet a train at Newton Bridge, which I believed 
my wife would come by, returning home, if her sister was dead as I 
expected. There was an understanding that she was to stay at Stretton 
to attend upon Mrs. Eustance until her demise or convalescence. 

" I met my wife some few hundred yards from the station, and could 
see by her countenance that my surmises were correct. She then told me 
the particulars of her sister's death, how she longed to see me and Rosanna. 
I then told her of our being called by a voice resembling hers some time 
in the night j)revious, when she (my wife) said she (Mrs. Eustance) often 
repeated our names during the night before becoming unconscious." 

The niece, Mrs. Sewill, writes as follows : — 

" 11, Smithdown Lane, Paddington, Liverpool. 
" August 21st, 1885. 
" At my uncle's and your request, I write to confirm the statement of 
uncle respecting the voice I heard, as follows : I was awakened suddenly 
without apparent cause, and heard a voice call me distinctly, thus : ' Rosy, 


Rosy, Eosy/'^ Tliinking it was my undo calling, I rose and went out of 
my room, and met my uncle coming to see if I was calling him.^ We were 
the only occupants of the house that night, aunt being away attending 
upon her sister. The night I was called was between 2nd and 3rd of July, 
1866. I could not say the time I was called, but I know it was the break 
of day. I never was called before or since. " Rosanna Sewill." 

[The last words — an answer to the question whether the narrator had 
ever experienced any other hallucination — perhaps need correction, as I 
learnt in conversation that on another occasion she (and two other persons 
in the same house) had been woke by a voice resembling that of a deceased 
relative. But she is by no means a fanciful or superstitious witness.] 

The percipients in this case may perhaps have been in a some- 
what anxious and highly-wrought state. Now that is a condition 
which — as we shall see in the sequel — tends occasionally to produce 
purely subjective hallucinations of the senses. It is true that the 
impression of a call which was imagined to be that of a healthy person 
close at hand, and was in no way suggestive of the dying woman, 
does not seem a likely form for subjective hallucination due to 
anxiety about her to take ; still, the presence of the anxiety would 
have prevented us from including such a case in our evidence, had 
only a single person been impressed. But it must be admitted as a 
highly improbable accident that two startling impressions, so similar 
in character, and each unique in the life of the person who experienced 
it, should have so exactly coincided. 

§ 10. The above may serve as examples of the several groups 
classified with reference to the nature of the percipient's impression. 
But it will be seen that the agent has also been exhibited in a great 
variety of conditions — in normal waking health, in apparently dream- 
less sleep (pp. 103-9), in dream, in physical pain, in a swoon, in the 
excitement of danger, in dangerous illness, and in articulo mortis, 
the death being in one case accidental and instantaneous, in another 
the result of a sudden seizure, and in others the conclusion of a 
prolonged illness. And amid this variety the reader will, no doubt, 
have been struck by the large proportion of death cases — a proportion 
which duly represents their general preponderance among alleged 
cases of spontaneous telepathy. They constitute about half of our 
whole collection. Now this fact raises a question with respect to 
the interpretation of the phenomena which may be conveniently 
noticed at once since it bears an equal relation to nearly all the 

1 Each of the percipients, it will be noted, heard his or her own name. This point 
receives its explanation in Chap, xii., § 5. 

- Mrs. Sewill, (who was 14 or 15 at the time) is certain that she is correct on this 
point ; and in conversation with her uncle, I found that his memory agrees with hers. 


chapters that follow, while such answer as I can give to it depends to 
some extent on what has preceded. 

We are, of course, accustomed to regard death as a completely 
unique and incomparably important event ; and it might thus seem, 
on a superficial glance, that if spontaneous telepathy is possible, and 
the conditions and occasions of its occurrence are in question, no 
more likely occasion than death could be suggested. But on closer 
consideration, we are reminded that the actual psychical condition 
that immediately precedes death often does not seem to be specially 
or at all remarkable, still less unique; and that it is this actual 
psychical condition — while it lasts, and not after it has ceased — that 
really concerns us here. Our subject is phantasms of the living : 
we seek the conditions of the telepathic impulse on the hither side of 
the dividing line, in the closing passage of life ; not in that huge 
negative fact — the apparent cessation or absence of life — on which 
the common idea of death and of its momentous importance is 
based. And the closing passage of life, in some of the cases above 
quoted and in many others that are to follow, was, to all appearance, 
one of more or less complete lethargy ; a state which (on its psychical 
side at any rate) seems in no way distinguishable from one through 
which the agent has passed on numerous previous occasions — that of 
deep sleep. Nor are the cases which issue in death the only ones to 
which this remark applies : in the more remarkable cases of Chap. III., 
the agent was actually in deep sleep ; Mrs. Bettany's mother was in 
a swoon (p. 194) ; and other similar instances will meet us. Here, 
then, there appears to be a real difficulty. For how can' we attribute 
an extraordinary exercise of psychical energy to a state which on its 
psychical side is quite ordinary, and in which psychical and physical 
energies alike seem reduced to their lowest limits ? 

It may, no doubt, be replied that we have no right to assume that 
the psychical condition is ordinary ; that the nervous condition in the 
lethargy of approaching death, and even in a fainting-fit, may differ 
greatly from that of normal sleep, and that this difference may be 
somehow represented on the psychical side, even though the ostensible 
psychical condition is approximately nil. But a completer answer 
may possibly be found in some further development of the idea of 
the "unconscious intelligence" which was mentioned above (pp. 69, 70). 
We there noted stray manifestations of psychical action that seemed 
unconnected Avith the more or less coherent stream of experience which 
we recognise as a self; and a probable relation of these was pointed 


out to those curious cases of "double consciousness," in which two more 
or less coherent streams of experience replace one another by turns, 
and the same person seems to have two selves. Many other cognate 
facts might be mentioned, which enable us to generalise to some 
extent the conceptions suggested by the more prominent instances. 
But since for present purposes the topic only concerns us at the point 
where it comes into contact with telepathy, I must ask the reader 
to seek those further facts elsewhere ; and to accept here the 
statement that the more these little-known paths of psychology 
are explored, the more difficult will it appear to round off the idea of 
personality, or to measure human existence by the limits of the 
phenomenal self ^ Now the very nature of this difficulty cannot but 
suggest a deeper solution than the mere connection ot various 
streams of psychic life in a single organism. It suggests the 
hypothesis that a single individuality may have its psychical being, 
so to speak, on different planes ; that the stray fragments of 
" unconscious intelligence," and the alternating selves of " double 
consciovisness," belong really to a more fundamental uuity, which 
finds in what we call life very imperfect conditions of manifestation ; 
and that the self which ordinary men habitually regard as their 
proper individuality may after all be only a partial emergence. 
And this hypothesis would readily embrace and explain the special 
telepathic fact in question ; while itself drawing from that fact a 
fresh support. By its aid we can at once picture to ourselves how it 
should be that the near approach of death is a condition excep- 
tionally' favourable to telepathic action, even though vital faculties 
seem all but withdrawn, and the familiar self has lapsed to the very 
threshold of consciousness. For to the hidden and completer self 
the imminence of the great change may be apparent in its full and 
unique impressiveness ; nay, death itself may be recognised, for 
aught we can tell, not as a cessation but as a liberation of energy. 
But this line of thought, though worth pointing out as that along 
which the full account of certain phenomena of telepathy may in 
time be sought, is not one that I can here pursue. 

1 In addition to Dr. Azani's well-known case of Felida, I may refer specially to 
Professor Verriest's "Observation de trois existences cer^brales distinctes chez le 
meme sujet," in the Bulletin dc VAcadimie Royale de Mtdecine de BeUjique, 3rd Series, 

Vol. xvi.; the case of Louis V , with his six different personalities, reported by 

various French observers (Camuset, Annales Medico-psycholofjiques, 1882, p. 75 ; Jules 
Voisin, Archives de Neuroloyie, September, 1885 ; Bourru and Burot, Rerue Philosophique, 
October, 1885, and Archives de Neurologic, November, 1885) ; and the hypnotic experiments 
described by Mr. Myers, in his paper on "Human Personality," /"rocfc/ ('ny^- of theS.P.R. 
Part X. A theory of the transcendental self, in its relation to various abnormal states, 
has been worked out at length in Du Prel's Philosophic der Mystik (Leipzig, 1885). 




§ 1. The advance-guard of cases in the last chapter has afforded a 
glance at the whole range of the phenomena. But I must now 
start on a methodical plan, and take the narratives in groups according 
to their subject-matter. The groups will follow the same order as the 
preceding specimens ; but though theoretically the best, this order 
has the practical disadvantage that it puts the weakest classes first. 
Of the two great divisions, the externalised impressions are by 
far the most remarkable in themselves, and by far the most conclusive 
as evidence ; but as they constitute the extreme examples of 
telepathic action, they are logically led up to through the 
non-externalised group, which presents more obvious analogies with 
the experimental basis of our inquiry. I must, therefore, beg the 
reader who may be disappointed by much of the evidence in this and 
the two following chapters, to note that it is no way presented as 
conclusive ; and that though it is well worthy of attention if the case 
for spontaneous telepathy is once made out, it is only when we come 
to the " borderland " examples of Chap. IX. that the strength of the 
case begins rapidly to accumulate. 

The great point which connects many of the more inward impres- 
sions of spontaneous telepathy with the experimental cases is this — 
that what enters the percipient's mind is the exact reproduction of 
the agent's thought at the moment. It is to this class of direct 
transferences, especially between persons who are in close association 
with one another, that popular belief most readily inclines — as a rule, 
without any sufficient grounds. Nothing is commoner than to hear 
instances of sympathetic flashes between members of the same 
household — cases where one person suddenly makes the very remark 
that another was about to make — adduced as evidence of some sort of 
supersensuous communication. But it is tolerably evident that a 


number of such " odd coincidences " are sure to occur in a perfectly 
normal way. Minds which are in habitual contact with one another 
will constantly react in the same way, even to the most trifling 
influences of the moment ; and the sudden word which proves them 
to have done so woidd have nothing startling in it, if the whole train 
of association that led up to it could be exposed to view. Moreover, 
physical signs which would be imperceptible to a stranger, may be 
easily and half-automatically interpreted by a familiar associate ; and 
thus what looks sometimes like uivination may perfectly well be due 
to unconscious inference. It is very rarely that conditions of this sort 
can be with certainty excluded. Still, experimental thought-trans- 
ference would certainly prepare us to encounter the phenomenon 
occasionally in ordinary social and domestic life ; and one or two 
examples may be given which have a strong 'primd facie air of 
being genuine specimens. 

One frequent form of the alleged transferences is that of tunes. 
It is matter of very common observation that one person begins 
humming the very tune that is running in some one else's head. 
This admits, as a rule, of a perfectly simple explanation. It is easy 
to suppose that some special tune has been a good deal " in the air " 
of a house, half unconsciously hummed or whistled, as tunes often 
are, and that thus the coincidence is an accident which may very 
readily occur. At the same time, if the telepathic faculty exists 
tunes should apparently be a form of " thought " well calculated for 
transference. With many people the imagining of a tune is the sort 
of idea which comes nearest to the vividness of actual sensation. 
And moreover, it contains not only the representation of sensory 
experience, but also a distinct motor element — an impulse to 
reproduction. A person with a musical ear can silently reproduce a 
tune, with such an inward force as almost produces the illusion of 
driving it into objective existence. Such an incident as the following 
therefore, where there is no question of a family knowledge of the 
tune, or of its having been in any way in the air, is of decided 
interest ; though, of course, the actual force of any single case of the 
sort is very small.^ We received the account from Sir Lepel Griffin, 

1 The phenomenon is not without experimental support. Just a century ago, 
Puys^gur wrote, of one of his "magnetised" subjects: "Je le for§ais h. se donner 
beaucoup de mouvcment sur sa chaise, comme pour danser sur un air, qu'en chantant 
nimtalcment je lui faisais rep^ter tout haut." (Memoires, etc., du Ma<jnetism€ Animal, 
3rd edition, p. 22. See also Dr. Macario, Du Smnmeil, des Beves, et du Somnambulisnie, 


" 53a, Pall Mall. 

" February 14th, 1884. 
(37) " Colonel Lyttleton Annesley, Commanding Officer of the 11th 
Hussars, was staying in my house some time ago, and one afternoon, 
having nothing to do, we wandered into a large unoccupied room, given 
up to lumber and packing cases. Colonel A. was at one end of this long 
room reading, to the best of my recollection, while I opened a box, long 
forgotten, to soe what it contained. I took out a number of papers and 
old music, which I was turning over in my hand, when I came across a 
song in which I, years before, had been accustomed to take a part, ' Dal 
tuo stellato soglio,' out of ' Mose in Egitto,' if I remember right. As I 
looked at this old song. Colonel A., who had been paying no attention 
whatever to my proceedings, began to hum, ' Dal tuo stellato soglio.' In 
much astonishment I asked him why he was singing that particular air. 
He did not know. He did not remember to have sung it before ; indeed 
I have not ever heard Colonel A. sing, though he is exceedingly fond of 
music. I told him that I was holding the very song in my hand. He 
was as much astonished as I had been, and had no knowledge that I had 
any music in my hand at all. I had not spoken to him, nor had I 
hummed the air, or given him any sign that I was looking over music. 
The incident is curious, for it is outside all explanation on the theory of 

Later, Sir L. Griffin wrote:— « 28th April, 1884. 

" I promised to write to you when I received a reply from General 
Lyttleton Annesley, to whom I had written, in the same words I had used 
to you, the little incident which struck you as noteworthy. I may mention 
that it had never formed the subject of conversation or correspondence 
between us from the day that it happened until now. He says : ' I 
perfectly recollect the incident you refer to about the song " Dal tuo 
stellato soglio." I had my back to you at the time you were taking out 
the music, and did not even know what you were doing. I was close 
to a window and you were at the bottom end of the room. In fact your 
account is exact to the minutest point.' a Lepel Griffin " 

We have other cases in which the transferred impression was not 
of a tune, but of a word or phrase, while still apparently of an 
auditory sort, conveying the sound of the word rather than its mean- 
ing. When the two persons concerned have been in close proximity, 
it is, of course, difficult to make sure that some incipient sound or 
movement of the lips, on the part of the supposed agent, did not 

p. 184.) Mr. Guthrie has successfully repeated the experiment several time? with a 
" subject " in a normal state (Proceedings of the S.P.R., Vol. iii. ) — with contact, it is true, 
which prevents the results from being quite conclusive. Still, the only element in a tune 
which could be conveyed with any accuracy by minute movements is the rhythm. Now 
this could only be conveyed by sudden movements at definite moments — a very different 
matter from the continuous slightly-varied pressure of the willing-game ; while even 
supposing that these discrete and accurate indications could be unconsciously given, it is 
hard to believe that they could lead to the identification of the tune, unless their 
rhythmic character were consciously perceived. 


supply an unconscious suggestion.^ But the following case cannot be 

so explained. We received it from Mr. J. G. Keulemans, who 

was mentioned above (p. 196) as having had a number of similar 


"November, 1882, 

(38) "In the summer of the year 1875, about eight in the evening, 
I was returning to my home in the Holloway Road, on a tramcar, when it 
flashed into my mind that my assistant, Herr Schell, a Dutchman, who 
knew but little English (who was coming to see me that evening), would 
ask me what the English phrase, ' to wit,' meant in Dutch. So vivid was 
the impression that I mentioned it to my wife on arriving at my house, 
and I went so far as to scribble it down on the edge of a newspaper which 
I was reading. Ten minutes afterwards Schell arrived, and almost his 
first words were the inquiry, ' Wat is liet Hollandsch voor " to tvit"V (The 
words scribbled on the newspaper were not in his sight, and he was a good 
many yards from it.) I instantly showed him the paper, with the 
memorandum on it, saying, ' You see I was ready for you.' He told me 
that he had resolved to ask me just before leaving his house in Kentish 
Town, as he was intending that evening to do a translation of an English 
passage in which the words occurred. He was in the liabit of making 
such translations in order to improve his knowledge of English. The time 
of his resolution corresponded (as far as we could reckon) with that of my 

[Unfortunately no corroboration of this occurrence is now obtainable; 
but the incident of the newspaper does not seem a likely one to have 
been unconsciously invented.] 

The next case, if correctly reported, is of a transitional sort ; for 
though it was a distinct idea, and not a mere sound -image, that 
seems to have been transferred, the transference was probably con- 
nected with the fact that the words were actually on the tip of 
the agent's tongue. This fact, of course, suggests again the chance of 
unconscious suggestion by actual sound or movement of the lips; 

1 For instance, we should not be justified in laying stress on such an occurrence as 
the following, described to us by Mr. Dismorr, of Thelcrest Lodge, Gravesend. 

" November 19th, 1884. 

" A somewhat curious little incident occurred this morning, which, though not of any 
value, might be of interest to you. 

" Last evening a friend of mine, Mr. F. P., and I, unable to fix upon a suitable name 
for a new invention of ours, agreed to think it over and communicate the names selected 
this morning. The only names 1 could think of at all suitable were three, ' Matchless, ' 
* Marvel,' and ' Express.' 

"We met in the train, and I said to P., 'Have you thought of any name?' he 
replied ' Yes,' and leant across to mention it, but suddenly stopped short, and said, 'Tell 
me yours.' 1 at once commenced, as I thought, to give the three I had selected in the 
order named ; hut quite as much to my surjjrise as that of Mr. P., the first name I 
mentioned was the word ' Superb, ' a name that had never entered my mind, but strangely 
enough the actual name that P. had settled on and was about to mention. 

" As there was not any reflection whatever, nor time for it, between P.'s question 
and my rejoinder, it struck me as rather curious. "J. S. Dismork." 

[Mr. P. admits the fact, but would rather his name did not appear.] 

This may have been a lucky chance, or it may have been that Mr. P., before checking 
laimself, had given a hint of the coming word. 


but such an explanation seems here practically excluded by the 
length of the sentence. The case was recorded in the Spectator of 
June 24th, 1882, and has been confirmed to us by the writer. 

" Ferndene, Abbeydale, near Sheffield. 

" June 22nd. 

(39) " I had one day been spending the morning in shopping, and re- 
turned by train just in time to sit down with my children to our early family 
dinner. My youngest child — a sensitive, quick-witted little maiden of two 
years and six weeks old — was one of the circle. Dinner had just com- 
menced, when I suddenly recollected an incident in my morning's experience 
which I had intended to tell her ; and I looked at the child with the full 
intention of saying, ' Mother saw a big, black dog in a shop, with curly 
hair,' catching her eyes in mine, as I paused an instant before speaking. 
Just then something called off my attention, and the sentence was not 
uttered. What was my amazement, about two minutes afterwards, to 
hear my little lady announce, ' Mother saw a big dog in a shop.' I gasped. 
' Yes, I did ! ' I answered ; ' but how did you know 1 ' ' With funny hair,' 
she added, quite calndy, and ignoring my question. ' What colour was it, 
Evelyn?' said one of her elder brothers; 'was it black? ' She said, ' Yes.' 

" Now, it was simply impossible that she could have received any hint 
of the incident verbally. I had had no friend with me when I had seen 
the dog. All the children had been at home, in our house in the country, 
four miles from the town ; I had returned, as I said, just in time for the 
children's dinner, and I had not even remembered the circumstance until 
the moment when I fixed my eyes upon my little daughter's. We have 
had in our family circle numerous examples of spiritual or mental insight 
or foresight ; but this, I think, is decidedly the most remarkable that has 
ever come under my notice. " Caroline Barber." 

Mrs. Barber has shown to Mr. Podmore the note-book in which she 
noted the occurrence, and from which her letter to the Spectator was taken 
almost verbatim. The incident was recorded on Jan. 11, 1880, as having 
taken place on Jan. 6. She adds that the governess and the other children 
at table were positive that she had not said anything about the dog, and 
were as much astonished as she was. 

§ 2. In the next case (which might fairly have been included 
under the head of experiments) we break away altogether from the 
auditory symbols of thought, and have a transference of an idea pure 
and simple. For even if the agent was formulating his thought to 
himself, he would naturally do so in English, while the percipient 
described his impression in Italian. The account is from Mr. Robert 
Browning, and was first cited by Mr. James Knowles, in a letter 
to the Spectator of January 30th, 1869. 

(40) "Mr. Robert Browning tells me that when he was in Florence some 
years since, an Italian nobleman (a Count Giunasi, of Ravenna), visiting 
at Florence, was brought to his house without previous introduction, by 
an intimate friend. The Count professed to have great mesmeric or 


clairvoyant faculties, and declared, in reply to Mr. Browning's avowed 
scepticism, that he would undertake to convince liini, somehow or other, 
of his powers. He then asked Mr. Browning whether he had anything 
about him then and there, which he could hand to him, and which was in 
any way a relic or memento. This, Mr. Browning thought, was, perhaps, 
because he habitually wore no sort of trinket or ornament, not even a 
watch-guard, and might, therefore, turn out to be a safe challenge. But 
it so happened, that by a curious accident, he was then wearing under his 
coat-sleeves some gold wrist-studs to his shirt, which he had quite recently 
taken into wear, in the absence (by mistake of a sempstress) of his ordinary 
wrist-buttons. He had never before worn them in Florence or elsewhere, 
and had found them in some old drawer, where they had lain forgotten 
for years. One of these studs he took out and handed to the Count, who 
held it in his hand awhile, looking earnestly in Mr. Browning's face, and 
then he said, as if much impressed, ' C'e qualche cosa die mi grida nell' 
orecchio, " Uccisione, uccisione ! " ' [There is something here which cries 
out in my ear, ' Murder, murder ! '] 

" 'And truly,' says Mr. Browning, ' those very studs were taken from 
the dead body of a great-uncle of mine, who was violently killed on his 
estate in St. Kitts, nearly 80 years ago. These, -svith a gold watch and 
other personal objects of value, were produced in a court of justice, as 
proof that robbery had not been the purpose of the slaughter, which was 
effected by his own slaves. They were then transmitted to my grand- 
father, who had his initials engraved on them, and wore them all his life. 
They were taken out of the night-gown in which he died, and given to me, 
not my father. I may add that I tried to get Count Giunasi to use his 
clairvoyance on this termination of ownership, also ; and that he nearly 
hit upon something like the fact, mentioning a bed in a room, but he 
failed in attempting to describe the room — situation of the bed with 
respect to windows and door. The occurrence of my great-uncle's murder 
was known only to myself, of all men in Florence, as certainly was also 
my possession of the studs.' " 

Mr. Browning, in a letter to us, dated the 21st of July, 1883, affirms 
that the account "is correct in every particular" — adding, "My own 
explanation of the matter has been that the shrewd Italian felt his way 
by the involuntary help of my own eyes and face. The guess, however 
attained to, was a good one." 

If a spurious diviner can thus feel his way as far as murder, and 
even Mr. Browning's expression is so inadequate to veil his thought, 
then indeed is our daily life compassed with dangers of which genuine 
telepathy has shown no trace. 

With this account it is interesting to compare the following, from 

Miss Caroline B. Morse, of Northfield, Vermont. 

"April, 1884. 

(-tl) "I early became conscious of a peculiar sensitiveness to 

the undertones — the unuttered thoughts — of others. Later, this 

tendency developed into an occasional lightning-like reading of facts 

that apparently came to me through none of the ordinary sensory 


channels, and which always, whatever their nature, gave me a shock of 
surprise. As an instance : About 1 3 years ago I went with an uncle to 
a jeweller's shop to see a wonderful clock. I had never met the proprietor 
of the shop ; he was known to my uncle, who introduced him as he came 
forward and stood with us before the clock. At that instant came a 
sensation as if every nerve in my body had been struck. The affable 
jeweller had extended his hand, but with a shudder, that only habitual 
self-control repressed, I said within myself : ' I cannot touch your hand — • 
there is blood upon it — you are a murderer.' Outwardly, I merely bowed 
and looked at the clock, as if nothing could interest me so much, thus 
ignoring the proffered hand. Several weeks after, I learned that the 
jeweller and a companion, when young men, had been accused of and tried 
for the murder of a pedlar. They escaped conviction through the garbled 
testimony of the chief witness, who at the preliminary hearing had made 
a clear statement strongly against them. << Caroline B. Morse." 

The following corroboration is from Mr. B. T. Merrill : — 

" Montpelier, Vermont. 

" May 31st, 1884. 
" I think it was in the fall of 1871 that I asked my niece. Miss C. B. 
Morse, to go with me to see a musical clock. We went into the shop. I 
introduced the jeweller ; he reached out his hand to shake hands with her, 
but she refused to take his hand. After we left the shop, I asked her 
why she did not shake hands with him. She did not make mucli reply, 
and I did not know the real reason till long afterwards. I did not then 
know that the jeweller had been tried for murder, but some time after 
learned the facts from some of the residents of this place. 

" Benjamin T. Merrill."^ 

In contrast to this purely ideal sort of horror, I may quote the 
following two cases where the impression, though still extremely 
indefinite in character, was yet sufficiently concrete to suggest the 
very presence of the object. 

The first account was given to us by Miss Charlotte E. Squire, 
then residing at Feltham Hill, Middlesex (now Mrs. Fuller Maitland). 

1 Compare case 379, where the impression seems to have been received when the 
agent's hand was actually touched. The following account of a parallel incident occurs in 
the Zoist, Vol. X., p. 409, in a letter from the Rev. C. H. Townshend to Dr. Elliotson. 

"October 6th, 1852. 

" There is a curious story that M. Woodley de Cerjat wanted you to know. I believe 
he wrote it to Dickens to tell you again. However, I may as well repeat it. 

"A young lady, a friend of M. Cerjat's, who had been wdth her family at Lausanne, 
was taken iU at Berne with typhus fever. Her doctor found her one day in a lucid 
interval (she was generally delirious), but no sooner had he touched her hand than she 
seemed to pass into an extraordinary state, and cried out, ' Oh that poor child ! that poor 
little boy ! why did you cut his head open ? How is he now ? ' The doctor, astonished, 
replied, ' I left him well ; I hope he will recover,' and tried to calm the patient. But when 
he got out of the room, he said, 'That was the most extraordinary thing I ever knew in my 
life. I am come from trepanning a boy whose head had been injured, but there was no 

human means by which Miss could have known it, as I am only this moment come 

direct from the boy here, and no one knew of the accident, nor had Miss 's nurse ever 

left the room.' The explanation seems to be that the touch of the doctor's hand threw the 
young lady into clairvoyance. She is since dead, and M. de Cerjat attended her funeral." 


"January 17th, 1884. 

(42) " My brother and I were travelling together from Cologne to 
Flushing. We were alone in the carriage when suddenly my brother, who 
had been half asleep, said to me that he had an odd idea that some one else 
was in the carriage sitting opposite to me. The very same idea had struck 
me just before he spoke. 

" Though my feet were on the opposite seat, I was certain that some 
one was there, thoush I was wide awake and never saw the slio-htest 
appearance of anything. The impression only lasted for a moment, but it 
was strange that our thoughts should have been simultaneous.' This 
happened three years ago." 

Asked if this impression w^as a unique experience in her life Miss 
Squire replied that it was. 

The following corroboration is from Mr. W. Barclay Squire : 

"The incident took place in the second week of February, 1881. My 
sister and myself had been to Hanover, and were returning home via 
Flushing. ^ We were alone in a first-class carriage, I sitting with my face 
to the engine, she with her back, at the diagonal corners of the carriage. 
In the evening, as we drew near to Flushing, I was dozing, or rather *in 
that half-awake, half-asleep state when dreams become mixed up with 
reality, and actual objects become mingled with dream images. From this 
state I suddenly woke, under the vivid impression that a figure was seated 
in the corner of the carriage opposite my sister, i.e., at the other end of the 
seat on which I was. The impression was quite transitory, but so vivid as 
to wake me thoroughly, though the figure was vague and dark, as if muflSed 
up in a cloak, no features being visible. I immediately mentioned the 
hallucination to my sister, when she told me she had a similar one. I was 
careful to note that there were no bags or rugs on the seat on which I saw 
the figure, which could have given rise to its appearance by some fanciful 
combination. '< W. Barclay Squire." 

Asked whether he had ever had any other hallucinations of vision Mr. 
Squire replied that when quite a child he had seen figures, which we're to 
be accounted for by an "almost continual state of delicate health. I 
never saw figures from the time I was about 7 or 8 until this experience 
in the railway carriage." 

It naturally occurred to us that the impression might have been 
unconsciously suggested to one of the two persons by the other, throufrh 
some unconscious gesture or sudden change of feature. But the foUowincr 

communications seem decisive against this hypothesis : '^ 

" 39, Phillimore Gardens, W. 

"March 15th, 1885. 
" The idea of a third presence in the railway carriage occurred to both 
my brother and myself, without either of us ever having seen the other's 
face. 1 had my eyes closed at the time, and as we were sittinc^ on the 
same side of the carriage we could not see each other's faces. ^ 

" C. E. Fuller Maitland." 
" I am certain the impression on my part was entirely spontaneous 
and not suggested by any action or look of my sister. ' 

" W. Barclay Squire." 


[It will be seen, however, that there is a discrepancy as to the 
positions in the carriage.] 

Supposing this incident to have been telepathic, it is natural to 
regard Mr. Squire as the agent, and his impression of the strange 
presence as the momentary survival of a dream. But in the next 
example, if we surmise that a sort of waking nightmare of one of 
the three sisters affected the other two, we cannot at all assign their 
respective shares in the occurrence. The writer of the narrative is 
well known as an authoress and practical philanthropist. 


(4.3) "It was on a Saturday night, the end of October, or early in 

November, 1848, that I was staying at St. M 's Vicarage, Leicester. 

My two sisters were at home, at H., about 14 or 15 miles from Leicester. 
The room in which I slept was large and low, opening into a broad, low 
corridor; the nursery was on the same floor; the rest of the family slept 
on the one below. I had been asleep for some time, and was not consci- 
ously dreaming at all. I was awoke instantaneously, not by any sound, 
but intensely awake, starting up in a panic — not of fear, but of horror, 
knowing that something horrible was close by. The room was still dimly 
lighted by the dying-out fire. I suppose it was seeing the room empty 
made me at once know that whatever it was, it was still outside the door, 
for I rushed at once to lock it. The impression I had was so vivid that I 
can only describe it by speaking of ' It ' as objective. ' It ' was living, not 
human, not physically dangerous ; I think it was malevolent, but the over- 
powering consciousness I had was horrible ; I did not represent it to myself 
in any shape even, except as an indefinite blackness, like a cloudy pillar, I 
suppose. The presence seemed to stay outside the door five minutes (but 
probably it was a much shorter time), and then it simply was not there. 
Whilst it was there I knew that it was nearly 2 o'clock, and the church 
bells chimed 2, about ten minutes, as I suppose, after it ceased. Whilst it 
was there I was very angry with myself for being so absurd ; and I 
remember wondering whether a young German, who was living there as a 
pupil, a j)Totege of Chauncey Townsend's, could be mesmerising me. He 
had been telling us about mesmerism and clairvoyance the day before, but 
I had not the slightest faith in either, at any rate not in C. H. T.'s 
accuracy of observation. 

" I went home on the following Tuesday, and that night, in talking 
over my visit with my two sisters, I told them what a strange delusion 
I had had. 

" They were Ijoth astonished, and related a similar experience each had 
had on the same Saturday night, or rather Sunday morning, for both 
agreed their impression at the time had been it was about or near 2. 
They were sleeping in separate rooms, but next each other. 

" R. was awoke in the f-ame sudden manner, with the consciousness 
that something dreadful or harmful was near, not in her room, but a little 
way off. Her impression was the same in character, but less vivid than 

" E. was awoke suddenly, as I had been, with a sense of intense horror. 


Some presence, fearful, evil and powerful, was standing close by her side ; 
she was unable to move or ci-y out ; it seemed to her also to be a spiritual 
presence. Her room was quite dark, so she could see nothing. Her 
impression was at the time so much more overpowering, and it was so much 
closer to her, that it seemed to me, on talking it over, to have been the 
cause of ours. Not one of us for a moment connected it with a ghost. 
That notion never occurred to us. 

"R. and E. had told each other before my return, I believe on the next 
day. Afterwards we told the strange coincidence to my father and 
mother. She thought she had also been awoke by a cry, if I remember 
right, that night ; but her recollection was too vague to be relied upon. 

" Nothing ever came of it, except that the known date of the 
commencement of E.'s fatal illness was the Saturday following. But 
neither she, so far as I know, nor we ever thought of it in this connection. 
She was very much interested in it afterwards, but not in the slightest 
degree uneasy or alarmed at it, only eager to find out how the coincidence 
could be accounted for. I was 28 at the time ; E. was just 25." 

[R. remembers this incident vaguely, and can add nothing.] 

§ 3. I now come to cases where the impression was of a more 
definite sort, representing actual people and actual events. We some- 
times encounter persons who allege that they have repeatedly 
experienced some occult sort of perception of what was happening 
to friends or relatives at a distance. As a rule their statements have 
no force at all as evidence for telepathy ; partly because we have no 
means of judging how far the idea of the distant event may have 
been suggested in some normal way ; partly because the impressions 
have not been recorded at the time, and it is specially easy to suppose 
that failures may have been forgotten, while a lucky guess has been 
remembered. We have, however, one example of marked correspon- 
dence where two witnesses were concerned, each of whom professes 
to have had other similar experiences, and where the particular 
incident narrated is adequately confirmed. The witnesses are Mr. and 
Mrs. L. H. Saunders, of St. Helen's, near Ryde. As to former experi- 
ences, Mr. Saunders says : — 

" I have mentally noted frequent 'vivid impressions' during many 
years past, and in the majority of instances, when such impressions have 
appeared to be spontaneous and intuitive, the facts have actually 

Mrs. Saunders says : — 

" I have had other similar strong impressions at distant intervals, and 
as far as I can recollect they have corresponded with the reality. I cannot 
say if I have had any such impressions which have not corresponded with 
the reality, but my opinion is that I have had none such." 

Mr. Saunders' account of the particular incident is as follows : — 


" San Claudio, Sandown, Isle of Wight. 

"March 12th, 1883. 

(44) " On Thursday evening last (8th inst.) in the house of friends with 
whom we were staying at Ta\-istock, Devon, I suddenly asked my wife 
' What she was thinking of ? ' She replied, ' I cannot get ]\I. R. and A. F. 
out of my head all day ; they will run through all my thoughts.' I 
replied, ' What makes you think of them ? She said, ' I don't know, but 
it seems just as if they were married,' to which T asked, ' Have you any 
reason to suppose they would be married to-day 1 ' She replied, ' Oh no ! 
I am sure Mary would not be married during Lent.' I then allowed my 
mind to travel to the house where M. R. resided in London, when I became 
immediately conscious of receiving the strongest possible conviction that 
they were married that day, so that I quickly but firmly replied, 'They are 
married to-day, and we shall see the ivedding announced in the Times on 
Saturday,' at which there was a general titter. However, I was so 
convinced of the accuracy of our joint thoughts that I foolishly ofi'ered to 
wager the whole of my belongings on the truth of it, and until seeing the 
confirmation, I was anxious to risk anything in support of my belief. I 
may here mention that there were present, who could testify to the fore- 
going conversation, three independent witnesses, quite unknown to the 
persons referred to as M. R. and A. F. Neither of the latter had been 
seen nor communicated with by my wife for nearly six months, but I had 
seen them once about three months before. We knew they were to be 
married, but understood not until April or May. This knowledge and the 
question of Lent made my wife doubtful as to the fulfilment of her 
presentiment when I pressed her finally at noon on Saturday ; soon after 
which, on reaching Exeter station, I procured a copy of the Times, and 
before opening it again declared my conviction absolutely unshaken. As 
you may have guessed, there was the notice of marriage, as liaving taken 
place on the 8th inst., all right. [We have verified this fact independently.] 
I may conclude by saying this notice is all we know of the wedding, no 
communication ha^dng passed between us and any member of the bride's 
or bridegroom's family, <fec. Further, if you deem it of sufficient 
importance I will supply correct names and addresses of all parties 
interested, as I feel sure our Tavistock friends could not object to 
contributing to scientific truth by testifying to the facts." 

The ladies who were present when Mr. and Mrs. Saunders had this 
impression corroborate as follows, in a letter written to Mr. Saunders from 
Harleigh House, Tavistock : — 

" After a lengthy discussion you both emphatically concluded that she 
was married on that day. We were quite sceptical at tlie time, but on 
receipt of the Times the proofs were quite convincing. 

"Lily Sampson. 
"Kathleex Sampson." 

Here the state of the supposed agent or agents was presumably 
excitement of a happy nature. This, however, is rarely the case — 
which may perhaps be taken as indicating the superior vividness of 
pains over pleasures. Impressions of death, illness, or accident are 


the almost unbroken rule. I will first quote cases where a distinct 
idea of the particular event was produced, without any distinct 
representation of the actual scene. 

The following- account is from Mrs. Herbert Davy, of 1, Burden 
Place, Newcastle-on-Tyne. 

" December 20th, 1883. 

(45) " A very old gentleman, living at Hurworth, a friend of my 
liusband's and with whom I was but slightly acquainted, had been ill many 
months. My sister-in-law, who resides also at H., often mentioned him 
in her letters, saying he was better or worse as the case might be. 

" Late last autumn, my husband and I were staying at the Tynedale 
Hydropathic Establishment. One evening I suddenly laid down the book 
I was reading, with this thought so strong upon me I could scarcely 
refrain from putting it into words : ' I believe that Mr. C. is at this 
moment dying.' So strangely was I imbued with this belief — there liad 
been notliing whatever said to lead to it — that I asked my husband to note 
the time particularly, and to remember it for a reason I would rather not 
state just then. ' It is exactly 7 o'clock,' lie said, and that being our 
dinner hour, we went downstairs to dine. The entire evening, however, 
I was haunted by the same strange feeling, and looked for a letter from 
my sister-in-law next morning. None came. But the following day there 
was one for her brother. In it she said : ' Poor old Mr. C. died last night 
at 7 o'clock. It was past post time, so I could not let you know 
before.' " 

Mr. Davy corroborates as follows ; — 

"December 27th, 1883. 

" I have a perfect recollection of the night in question, the 20th 
October, 1882, when my wife asked me to tell her the time. I told her 
the time, as she ' had a reason for knowing it,' she said. She afterwards 
told me that reason. " Herbert Davy." 

The following is a copy of an obituary card, referring to the Mr. C. of 
the narrative : — 

" In loving memory of John Colling, of Hurworth-on-Tees, who died 
October the 20th, 1882, aged 84 years." 

Mrs. Davy has had one other experience, to be quoted later (case 395), 
which also corresponded witli a death. With this exception, she states 
that the present case was quite unique in her experience. 

In an interview with Professor Sidgwick, on April 15th, 1884, Mrs. 
Davy described the impression as strong and sudden, not emotional, but 
merely the sudden conviction that Mr. Colling was at that moment dying, 
though a strange feeling of sadness followed and remained during the 
evening. " She called it strange," says Professor Sidgwick, " meaning (as 
I understand) that her interest in Mr. C. was too slight to account for it ; 
and she has no reason to suppose that he thought of her at the moment of 
death. In this case her recollection of the uniqueness and strength of her 
conviction is confirmed by her request to her husband to note the time ; 
she was certain that she had never on any other occasion made a similar 
request in consequence of a similar impression. Her belief at the time 

R 2 


was not the result of any reasoning process leading her to have confidence 
in her impression." More than two years later, in conversation with the 
present writer, Mrs. Davy mentioned the surprise which she herself after- 
wards felt at having made the request to her husband. 

The next case is from Miss A. S. Jarry, of Settle, Yorkshire. 

"June 2nd, 1884. 

(46) "I was making a hurried tour in the North of Italy, having left 
a sister at home, who for some time past had been subject to sudden 
attacks of illness. Owing to short halts, and some uncertainty as to 
these, I had not had any tidings from home for nearly a fortnight. 
Although much disappointed at this, I can confidently say that I had not 
dwelt upon the thought so as to induce any nervous anxiety. One 
evening, in Venice, at about half -past 10, the certain conviction was 
suddenly forced upon me that my sister was ill. The impression was so 
distinct that it would have been impossible, in any case, to doubt the 
reality of the fact, but having had two similar communications some 
years before in the case of my mother's illness, I knew quite well that 
my sister was ill. Under these circumstances, it would be difiicult to 
measure time accurately ; my impression was that I had been about two 
hours arranging in my own mind to leave Venice by the earliest 
morning train, when suddenly an assurance as strong as the first was 
conveyed that all cause for anxiety had passed away. On my return 
home I found that both impressions had been correct, as my sister's 
account subjoined will show. I also send the evidence of a friend to 
whom, on the following morning, I communicated the impressions of the 
night. "A. S. Jarry." 

Miss Jarry's sister writes :- — 

" Having for some time been liable to sudden attacks in my head, the 
symptoms of which were great confusion of thought, an attack was never 
surprising. On the night of April 21st, 1882, as I was preparing for bed 
(being at the house of a friend), I all at once felt that I was not in my 
own room at home, and I could not account for that circumstance ; for 
some moments, it might be minutes, I did not know where I was. At 
last I became clear on that point, but not as to the reason of my being 
there. I was so far clear as to know that at the time I was ill, and that 
I must hasten into bed as soon, but with as little movement, as possible. 
It was about 10.30 p.m. the attack came on ; it continued to cause great 
and distressing confusion for about 2 hours. The time I was quite aware 
of, as a clock near, striking the quarters, marked the time accurately. 
After this, clearness of mind gradually returned, and I felt convinced I 
was recovering. I heard 2 a.m. strike before I fell asleep, but before that 
time I had felt convinced all danger was over. n jyj l Jarry." 

In answer to inquiries. Miss A. S. Jarry says : — 

"June 30th, 1884. 

" My impression of my sister's illness occurred on the same night, and, 
as exactly as can be ascertained at that distance, at the same time as her 
illness occurred. By comparing notes as strictly as can be, the certainty 
of all danger being over coincided exactly with her consciousness that she 
was going to fall into a refreshing sleep. I told my impression to Miss 
Barnett on the following moi-ning. The previous correct impression to 


which I alluded in the account I sent you, referred to two communications 
of precisely the same nature in the cases of two distinct illnesses of my 
mother's. 1 The impressions were equally clear and unmistakeable. 1 
have never had any false impression." 

Miss Julia Barnett confirms as follows : — 

"81, Fitzwilliam Street, Huddersfield. 

" Miss Barnett begs to say that she is able to bear testimony to the 
accuracy of the statements contained in Miss Jarry's letter, as she shared 
her room the night the strong impression of her sister's illness came over 
her, and, on awaking in the morning, received from her a vivid account of 
the distress she had endured whilst (as it appeared to her) her sister's 
attack lasted. 

" Miss Barnett can also state that, on arriving at home, she learned 
from the elder Miss Jarry that the latter had really had an attack on 
the night, and at the hour, when the certainty of it was felt by her 
sister. "Julia Barnett." 

Here the noteworthy points are, of course, the sudden resolution 
to start homewards next morning, and the distinct and unaccountable 
cessation of the anxiety. But in both these last cases the percipient 
was aware that the supposed agent was in a state where the event 
surmised was not wholly improbable, which reduces the force of the 
evidence. There are many cases of sudden accident where this 
objection does not apply. 

The following account is from Mrs. Muir, of 42, Holland Park, W. 

" April 7th, 1885. 

(47) " In the year 1849 I was staying in Edinburgh. One Sunday 
as I was dressing my second boy (aged 5 years) for church at about 10.30 
a.m., he looked up at me and said, ' Mother, Cousin Janie is dead.' I 
asked him which Cousin Janie he meant, and he answered, ' Cousin Janie 
at the Cape, she's dead.' I then tried to make him explain why he 
thought so, but he only kept repeating the statement. This 'Cousin Janie' 
was a girl of about 16 who had been staying in Edinburgh, and had gone 
out to the Cape with her parents some months before. She had been 
very fond of my boys, and had often played with them. I was rather 
struck by the way the child kept repeating what he had said, and wrote 
down the day and the hour, and told my mother and sisters. Some time 
afterwards the Cape mail brought the news that the girl had died on that 
very Sunday. She had been badly burnt the night before, and had 
lingered on till a little after midday. u Alice Muir." 

In answer to questions, Mrs. Muir says : — 

(1) "The child was not in the habit of saying odd things of this 

1 We have received full accounts of these other cases ; but as they occurred at a time 
when Miss Jarry was in distinct anxiety about her mother, they cannot be presented as 


(2) " As to the kind of impression I could discover nothing. 

(3) "I have no record in writing, but it is possible that my mother 
and sisters may remember the occurrence." 

On November 25th, 1885, Miss M. A. Muir wrote :— 
" All that we have gathered is that neither my grandmother nor my 
mother's two sisters have any distinct remembrance of the occurrence. 
The person who seemed to have been most impressed by it was a sister 
who died some years ago. I remember hearing her describe her feeling 
of wonder and awe, when the news came and they found the child's 
words were true." 

Very similar is the following incident, of which the first account 
was sent to us by Mr. C. B. Curtis, of 9, East 54th Street, New 

"November 20th, 1884. 

(48) "The incident I have to relate occurred 18 years ago, the present 
month. My wife at the time was making a visit at the house of her 
sister, alwut 300 miles from this city, in the central part of the State of 
New York. Thirty miles distant a brother resided with his family, 
among them a son, David, about 1 2 years of age. 

" One afternoon, my wife was sitting with her sister, while a child of 
the latter, a girl 3 years of age, was amusing itself with toys in another 
part of the room. Suddenly the child ceased its play and ran to my wife, 
exclaiming, ' Auntie, Davie's drowned.' Not being attended to at once, 
the child repeated the words ' Davie's drowned.' The aunt, thinking she 
had not heard correctly, asked the mother what the child said, when the 
words were again repeated. Nothing, however, was thought of the matter 
at the time, the mother simply saying the little one was probably only 
repeating what it had heard from some one. 

" A few hours later a telegram was received, announcing that at just 
about the time these words were spoken, David, the child's cousin, with a 
brother, a year or two older, were drowned while skating 40 miles away. 

" Charles B. Curtis." 

[The Penn Fan Express for January 9th, 1867, describes the accident 
as having occurred on the afternoon of January 2nd. Mr. Curtis is, there- 
fore, not correct in saying that it occurred in November.] 

On February 6th, 1885, Mr. Curtis sent us a copy of the following 
statement from his sister-in-law, Mrs. Ogden. 

" Kings Ferry, New York. 

"On the afternoon of January 2nd, 1867, my little daughter, Augusta, 
aged 3 years, %vas playing with her dolly, sitting near her aunt, who was 
spending the day at my house in Genoa, New York. Her little cousins, 
Darius and David Adams, aged 1 1 and 9 years, to the younger of whom 
she was tenderly attached, were living in Penn Yan, New York, 25 miles 
away. The cousins had not met since the preceding summer or early 

"While busy with her play, the child suddenly spoke, and said, 
' Auntie, Davie is drowned ! ' Her father who was present, and I, heard 


her distiTictly. I answered, ' Gussie, what did you say 1 ' She repeated 
the words, ' Davie is drowned ! ' Her aunt, wlio was not familiar with 
the childish accent, said, ' Gussie, I do not understand you ' ; when the 
child repeated for- the third time, ' Auntie, Davie is drowned ! ' I 
chanced to look at the clock, and saw it was just 4. 

" I immediately turned the conversation, as I did not wish such a 
painful thought fastened on the child's mind. 

" I cannot recall that any allusion had been made to the boys that 
day ; neither was I aware that my daughter even knew the meaning of 
the word drovmed. She simply uttered the words without apparent 
knowledge of their import. 

" That evening a telegram came from my brother, saying, ' My little 
boys, Darius and Davie, were drowned at 4 o'clock to-day while skating 
on Kenks Lake.' " E. M. O." 

The impression of a very young child, corresponding to such an 
accident as this, has far more force than that of an adult would 
generally have ; for seasons when relatives are supposed to be 
skating or boating are likely times for nervous apprehensions, 
which will naturally now and then be fulfilled.^ The following case 
is a strong one of its kind ; since the coincidence appears to have 
been close to the hour, while the ground for nervousness, such as it 
was, extended over a good maiiy days. The impression, moreover, 
seems to have been of a peculiarly definite and startling kind, being 
almost if not quite externalised as actual sound. The account is 
from the Rev. A. W. Arundel, who wrote from Colorado Springs, 
U.S.A., in 1884. 

(49) " In the fall of 1875, 1 took a trip to Madison, Ohio, to Johnson's 
Island, Kelly's Island, and neighbouring points. There were nine of us in 
all, and our conveyance was a small sailing vessel. One Sunday morning 
we crossed from Cedar Point to Sandusky, in order to attend church. 
During the service a heavy storm came up, and when we went down to the 
landing, on our return, we found a pretty rough sea. We ventured, how- 
ever, to try and get across, and in the end succeeded ; but in the trial we 

1 To a person who is constitutionally free from nervousness, and who recognises the 
hn]irfssi()n received as having been a unique one, such an incident will naturally .seem 
more striking than it does to others. This description applies to Mrs. Rachel Tuckett, of 
South w.iod Lawn, Highgate (a member of tlie Society of Friends), who tells us that on 
August 10th, 1878, she was impressed, in a way unknown in her previous experience, 
with a sense that some member of a party who had gone out on a steam yacht had fallen 
overboard. This accident had actually happened at that very time to her daughter (now 
Mrs. Green), who remembers her mother's mentioning the impression to her when she 
returned home, dripping wet. . 

We have a similar case from Mr. J. N. Mask elyne, the celebrated conjurer. When 
a boy he was nearly drowned. He says : " The last thing I could remember was a vivid 
picture of my home. I saw my mother, and could describe minutely where she sat, and 
what she was doing." This, however, would clearly not be evidence for telepathy, unless 
what the mother was doing was something very unusual, which does not seem to have 
been the case. But on Mr. Maskelyne's return home, though he concealed from her what 
had happened, "she questioned me closely, and said she felt strangely anxious about me, 
and thought some accident had befallen me." The i)ercipient's first-hand testimony cannot, 
however, be obtained. Nor have we any means of knowing the number of such maternal 
impressions about childish accidents that go unconfirmed. 


had a very narrow escape. We had gone about halfway, when a very 
heavy gust of wind struck our little vessel, and turned her over on her side. 
The water rushed in, and it seemed almost impossible to keep her afloat. 
There we were clinging to the side that was still out of water, and 
expecting every moment to be swamped. By dint of almost superhuman 
effort, those who had sufficient presence of mind cut away all the sail we 
were carrying, and the boat righted just enough to allow the men to bale 
out some of the water. We managed, after one or two almost hopeless 
struggles, to get ashore. Now just at the moment of greatest danger, 
when escape seemed impossible, I thought of my wife and child a hundred 
miles away. I thought of them in a sort of agony, and felt that to leave 
them was impossible. If ever there was an unuttered cry for loved ones, 
it was at that moment. This was on the Sunday afternoon. 

" I reached home on the following Saturday afternoon. Having to 
preach that Sunday, I held no conversation with my wife that morning, 
and it was not until Sunday after dinner that we had an opportunity for 
a chat. Just as I was about to commence an account of my trip, my wife 
said, ' By-the-way, I had a very peculiar experience last Sunday, just 
about this time. I was lying on the lounge, when all at once I had a 
startling impression that you wanted me, and even fancied I heard you 
call. I started up and listened, and went out on to the porch, and looked 
up and down the road, and acted altogether in a very agitated way.' 

" This happened, as nearly as we could determine by comparing notes, 
at precisely the same hour that I was clinging to that side of the sinking 
boat, and facing what seemed to be the possibility of a watery grave. I 
do not believe it was coincidence. It must, I think, be explained in some 
other way. u Alfred W. Arundel, 

"Pastor 1st U.E. Church." 

[For Mrs. Arundel's testimony, see the " Additions and Corrections."] 

The next case is well-known, having been published in the Life 
of Bishop Wilberforce, Vol. I., p. 397. 

(50) " The Bishop was in his library at Cuddesdon, with three or four of 
his clergy, writing with him at the same table. The Bishop suddenly raised 
his hand to his head, and exclaimed, ' I am certain that something has 
happened to one of my sons.' It afterwards transpired that just at that 
time his eldest son's foot (who was at sea) was badly crushed by an 
accident on board his ship. The Bishop himself records the circumstance 
in a letter to Miss Noel, dated March 4th, 1874; he writes: 'It is 
curious that at the time of his accident I was so possessed with the 
depressing consciousness of some evil having befallen my son Herbert, that 
at last on the third day after, the 1 3th, I wrote down that I was quite 
unable to shake off the impression that something had happened to him, 
and noted this down for remembrance.' " 

[If the Bishop was correct in stating that he connected the impression 
at the time with the particular son who was hurt, the exclamation put 
into his mouth in the earlier part of the account is perhaps not exactly 
what he uttered. We have not been able to learn who were present at 
the scene. Here, as in other cases, I shall be most grateful for further 
testimony, should this book fall into the hands of anyone able to supply it.] 


In the next case, though it seems certain that the percipient's 
experience was mentioned at the moment, we unfortimately cannot 
obtain her own account, or her friend's confirmation, as Mr. Smith 
has changfed his residence, and we have failed to trace him. He was 
personally known to Professor Barrett, to whom the account was sent. 

" Leslie Lodge, Ealing, W. 

"October 10th, 1876. 

(51) "I had left my house, 10 miles from London, in the morning as 
usual, and in the course of the day was on my way to Victoria Street, West- 
minster, having reached Buckingham Palace, when in attempting to cross 
the road, recently made muddy and slippery by the water cart, I fell, and 
was nearly run over by a carriage coming in the opposite direction. The 
fall and the fright shook me considerably, but beyond that I was un- 
injured. On reaching home I found my wife waiting anxiously, and this is 
what she related to me : She was occupied wiping a cup in the kitchen, 
which she suddenly dropped, exclaiming, ' My God ! he's hurt.' Mrs. S. 
who was near her heard the cry, and both agreed as to the details of time 
and so forth. I have often asked my wife why she cried out, but she is 
unable to explain the state of her feelings beyond saying, ' I don't know 
why ; I felt some great danger was near you.' These are simple facts, but 
other things more puzzling have happened in connection with the singular 
intuitions of my wife. u-p -yy gj^TH." 

As Mr. Smith was cognisant of his wife's distress, and probably 
heard her tale before informing her of what had befallen him, this 
evidence is practically first-hand (see p. 148) ; but it is incomplete, 
since, for aught we can tell, Mrs. Smith may have had similar alarms 
that did not correspond with reality — which would diminish the 
improbability of an accidental success. 

There is a similar defect in the next piece of evidence — this time 
owing to the fact that M. OUivier will not answer our letters. He 
probably thinks his own account sufficient, and does not see the im- 
portance, for our purposes, of fuller information. 

"Janvier 20, 1883. 

(52) " Le 10 octobre, 1881, je fus appele pour service medical a la 
campagne a trois lieues de chez-moi. C'etait au milieu de la nuit, une nuit 
tres sombre. Je m'engageai dans un petit chemin creux, domine par des 
arbres venant former une voute au dessus de la route. La nuit etait si 
noire que je ne voyais pas a conduire mon cheval. Je laissai I'animal se 
diriger a son instinct. II etait environ 9 heures ; le sentier dans lequel je 
me trouvais en le moment etait parseme de grosses pierres rondes et 
presentait une pente tres rapide. Le cheval allait au pas tres lentement. 
Tout a coup, les pieds de devant de I'animal flechissent et il tombe 
subitement, la bouche portant sur le sol. Je fus projete naturellement 
par-dessus sa tete, mon epaule porta a terre, et je me fracturai une 


" En le moment meme, ma femme, qui se deshabillait chez elle et se 
preparait a se mettre au lit, eut un pressentiment intime qu'il venait de 
m'arriver un accident ; un tremblement nerveux la saisit, elle se mit a 
pleurer et appelle la bonne. ' Venez vite, j'ai peur ; il est arrive quel que 
malheur ; mon raari est mort ou blesse.' Jusqu'a mon arrivee elle retint 
la domestique pres d'elle, et ne cessa de pleurer. Elle voulait envoyer un 
homme a raa recherche, mais elle ne savait pas dans quel village j'etais 
alle. Je rentrai chez moi vers 1 heure du matin. J'appela la 
domestique pjur m'eclairer et desseller mon cheval. ' Je suis blesse,' 
dis-je, ' je ne puis bouger I'epaule.' 

" Le pressentiment de ma femme etait confirme. 

" Voila, monsieur, les faits tels qu'ils se sent passes, et je suis tres 
heureux de pouvoir vous les envoyer dans toute leur verite. 

"A. Ollivier, 

" Medecin a Huelgoat, Finistere." 

I have mentioned that occasionally, where the same percipient has 
had several such impressions, all of them are alleged to have corre- 
sponded with a real event — or (as we may say for brevity) to have 
heenver'uHcal ; and this special susceptibility, though often imagined 
or exaggerated, is more likely to have been correctly observed, if the 
impressions have been connected with marked incidents, befalling one 
or more members of the witness's immediate circle. We found such 
a percipient in Mrs. Gates, of 44, Montpelier Road, Brighton, who 
has given us several instances of the singular sympathy existing 
between herself and her children, and manifesting itself by marked 
disquiet at moments when they are in danger or pain, although she 
may have no means of knowing it. 

To our inquiries whether she had ever noticed any failures, she 
said : — 

"I cannot recall any occasion of my experiencing ominous sensations 
with regard to certain of my children that have been entirely groundless ; 
still, the results have been of less importance than my emotions presaged. 
For instance, on a certain evening, about three months ago, I was troubled 
about my son Ross. I received a letter, which he must have been writing 
while I was so nervous about him, and this is the postcript : — 

" ' Excuse bad writing. I am feeling downright ill to-night, cold 
shivers, headache, and intense thirst. I think I'm in for a fever, &c., &c.' 

" He had, however, no illness ; the feverish symptoms passed away.' 

Now, this, of course, is quite unavailable as evidence ; but several 

such inconclusive incidents could hardly be held to weaken the force 

of more striking ones. Here, for instance, is a case where the 

coincident crisis was more sudden and serious. 

"November 21st, 1882. 
" My son Ross, a fine, tall young fellow, is musical attendant at 
an establishment for the mentally afflicted near Bath. Sitting with my 


family, on Monday afternoon, I remarked to my son-in-law, Mr. Evelyn 
Dering, ' I'm so unhappy this afternoon about Ross, I can think of 
nothing but him. What a nuisance I am to people ! ' This morning I 
received a letter from my son in which he says, ' I had a narrow escape on 
Monday afternoon ; one of our patients, named Rummell, attacked me with 
a chair. After a close struggle, I managed to blow my whistle, and get 
help from the next apartment. I was by myself with a lai-ge number of 
men, the other attendants being out and on duty in other places ; but 
thank goodness I did not get hurt,' &c., &c. This, then, was happening 
at the very time those singular feelings possessed me." 
Mr. Evelyn Dering corroborates as follows : — 

" 5, Hova Villas, West Brighton. 

" I write to confirm what Mrs. H. S. Gates gave you particulars of. 
It was certainly previous to receiving the letter from her son Ross that 
she expressed to me the painful anxiety she was sutfering on his account." 

The next instance is more definite still, and may be numbered as 
an evidential case. 

(53) "One August morning, in 1874 or 1875, at breakfast, the well- 
known feeling stole over me. Waiting till all had left the table excepting 
my second daughter, I remarked to her, ' I am feeling so restless about one 
of my absent boys ! It is ; and I feel as if I was looking at blood ! ' " 

The son in question, in a letter received a few days later, inquired of 
Mrs. Gates as follows : " Write in your next if you had any presentiments 

during last week. We were going to canal, fishing, and I got up at 

the first sound of the bell, and taking my razor to shave, began to sharpen 
it on my hand, and being, I suppose, only half awake, failed to turn the 
razor, and cut a piece clean out of my left hand. An artery was cut in 
two places, and bled dreadfully." 

The fact of Mrs. Gates's alarm and vision of blood has been confirmed 
to us independently by the daughter, Mrs. Darnley, to whom she described 
it at the moment. The letter, which we have seen, was dated August 16th, 
but without the year. The full description shows that the pain was 
exceedingly severe, and that the writer had fainted. 

§ 4. There is one interesting group of cases where the idea 
apparently impressed on the percipient has been simply that of the 
agent's approach. But here, again, great caution is necessary. Popular 
opinion is extremely apt to invest presentiments of this sort with a 
character to which they have no claim. Every day, probably, a large 
number of people have a more or less strong impression, for which they 
can assign no distinct reason, that some particular person is near them 
or is coming to see them. That with some people such an impression 
should prove correct often enough to be remarked on, is only what we 
should naturally expect ; and it is probable that the impression, when 
apparently confirmed in this way, would look to memory more 


definite and confident than it had really been. When it is always 
about the same person that the impression is felt, there is more 
prima facie ground for supposing that it may be telepathic. But 
still the circumstances may make it quite unavailable as evidence. 
For instance, Mr. Rowland Rowlands, of Bryncethin, Bridgend, tells 
us that when he was manager of the Pen-y-graig Collieries, a man 
who was acting under him as foreman (since dead) had constantly to 
come to his house on business in the middle of the night. 

" I was invariably aware of his coming, in dream, before he actually 
appeared, and would leave my bed and watch for him at the window. He 
himself noticed this, and told the other men that he never came but he 
found me at the window watching for him." 

But those who are in the habit of being waked at night for a 
special purpose know the way in which the expectation will often 
haunt their dreams ; and in the absence of more definite assurance 
that the man was never expected when he did not come, and 
that he never came unexpected, accident is the reasonable explanation 
of the coincidences. Mrs. Wheeler, of 106, High Street, Oxford, tells us 
that in the summer of 1869, she had a similar impression " dozens of 
times " with respect to the coming of a friend from Ifiley, and that it 
never played her false. But this friend was a constant visitor, and if 
she came thirty times in the course of a few months, and Mrs. Wheeler 
had the impression on six of these occasions (which is, perhaps, a fair 
scientific translation of " dozens"), accident again would easily account 
for the case. Mrs. Stella, of Chieri, Italy, tells us how, when she was 
ill years ago, a son, who was quartered six miles off, got away at 
night on five or six occasions, against rules and at considerable risk, 
to inquire about her at the lodge. 

" Although unconscious and frequently delirious, I always knew when 
he came, and called him, showing signs of eagerness and restlessness. At 
first they treated it as pure raving on my part, but on inquiry they found 
that he had been there during the night." 

This is a more plausible sample, since telepathic sensibility seems 
often heightened in illness ; still, the necessary precision is wholly 
lacking. We have, however, stronger cases, of which a couple may 
be worth quoting here. The first is remarkable from the extreme 
improbability of the visit ; the second from the number of times in 
succession that the impression proved correct. 

Miss M. E. Pritchard, of Tan-y-coed, Bangor, says : — 


"January 30th, 1884. 

(54) " One night, at 12 o'clock, I felt a conviction that a friend of ours, 
Mr. Jephson, was coming to see us very shortly. I mentioned it to my 
sister, who merely said it was very improbable, as he must be on his way 
to Canada, as such was his intention when we had last seen liim. 

" It was greatly to her astonishment when he actually arrived next 
morning at 9 a.m. When questioned as to the time of his arrival, we 
found it corresponded to the time of my remark, and, still more curious, 
he was then thinking of coming straight down to see us, but decided to 
wait till morning. This was in March, 1880, as far as I can remember." 

In reply to inquiries. Miss Pritchard adds : — 

" February 7th, 1884. 

" In reply to your question as to whether any other previous impres- 
sions had not turned out true, I think, as far as I can remember, any deep 
impression I have ever had as to anyone calling has invariably been 

The following corroboration is from Miss Pritchard's sister : — 

"Tan-y-coed, February 8th, 1884. 

"I distinctly remember my sister telling me (at the time) of lier im- 
pression that a friend was on his way to see us, which turned out to be the 
fact. — E. B. Pritchard." 

Mr. Robert Castle, estate agent to many of the Oxford colleges, 
and well known to Mr. Podmore, writes as follows : — 

"Oxford, 13th October, 1883. 

(55) " In the years 1851 and 1852, when I was from 15 to 17 years of 
age, I was left in charge of a considerable extent of building and other 
estate work at Didcot, Berks, at which some 50 or 60 men were employed ; 
and for so young a person a good deal of responsibility was put upon me, 
as I was only visited occasiomiUy, about once a fortnight on an average, 
by one of the seniors responsible for the work. 

" Occasionally this senior was my brother Joseph, about eight years 
older than myself, and who had always taken, even for a brother, a very 
great deal of interest in my welfare, and between whom and myself a very 
strong sympathy existed. 

" I was very rarely apprised by letter of these visits, but almost in- 
variably before my brother came (sometimes the day before, at other times 
at some previous hour on the same day) it would suddenly come into my 
mind as a quite clear and certain thing, how, I cannot say, that my brother 
was coming to see me, and would arrive about a certain hour, sometimes 
in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon, and I cannot remember a 
single occasion on which I had received one of these vivid impressions, on 
which he did not arrive as expected. 

" I had, without thinking particularly about it, got to act upon the 
faith of these impressions as much as if I had received a letter ; and the 
singularity of the occurrence was not brought very forcibly to my own 
mind until one day when the foreman asked me to give him instructions 
as to how a portion of the work should be carried out — when I answered 


him quite naturally, ' Oh, leave it to-day, Joe will be here about 4 o'clock 
this afternoon, and I would rather wait and ask his advice about it.' 

" The foreman, who had access to my office, and usually knew what 
letters 1 received, said, ' Perhaps it would be as well, but I didn't know 
that you had received a letter from Oxford.' 

" I had to explain to him that 1 had not received a letter, and that it 
was merely by an impression i knew my brother was coming, and upon 
this I got a hearty laugh only for my credulity. 

" As my brother turned up all right at the time named, the foreman 
would not be convinced that I had not been playing a trick upon him, 
and that I had not received a letter and put it away so that he might not 
know of it. 

" The strangeness of the matter then induced me to ari-ange with the 
foreman always to let him know, as soon as I might have the opportunity, 
of the occurrence of these impressions, so that he might check them as 
well as myself ; and he, although he gave up all attempts to explain the 
singularity of the thing, came afterwards to trust the certainty of their 
being right as much as I did myself. 

" I told my brother of them, who was very much puzzled, and could 
not account for so strange an occurrence ; but on comparing my 
statements as to the time when the impressions occurred to me, in a 
number of cases, he said that, so far as he could check the time, it would 
seem to have been always at or about the time when he first received 
his instructions, or knew of the arrangement having been made for him 

to come. 

" As both the foreman and my brother have been dead for some years 
past, I have no means of comparing their recollections of these matters 
with my own. 

" Perhaps I should add that my brother was living at Oxford at the 
time, 10 miles or so from Didcot ; and that although I was visited from 
time to time by other gentlemen beside my brother, I cannot remember 
having had these previous impressions in any case except his. 

" Robert Castle." 

Here real pains seem to have been taken to test the phenomenon 
fairly ; but the case is rather remote, and it is very unfortunate that 
no notes were taken at the time. Some further specimens will be 
found in the Supplement ; and parallel cases where there was an 
actual sensory impression of the person about to arrive will be found 
in Chap. XIV., § 7. 

I 5. So far, the impressions that corresponded with real events have 
all been ideas of a more or less abstract kind ; the fact was realised, but 
no image of the actual scene was called up in the percipient's mind. 
We now come to a series of more concrete impressions — still belonging, 
however, to the non-sensory family ; for though they have evoked 
sensory images with more or less distinctness, they have not suggested 


to the percipient any actual affection of the senses. And they continue 
to present this marked point of analogy to the results of experimental 
thought-transference, that the images or the scene evoked before the 
percipient's mind reflected (either wholly or in great part) the images 
or scene with which the agent's attention was actually occupied. 

In alleged transferences of this distinct and detailed sort, it is, of 
course, essential to the evidence that the scene with which the 
percipient is inwardly impressed should not be one that might, in 
the ordinary course of things, have been pictured correctly, or with 
sufficient correctness for the description to seem applicable. The 
tendency to make the most of such correspondences must here be care- 
fully borne in mind. For instance, a lady of our acquaintance communi- 
cated the following experience. An old friend of hers in Wales had 
been earnestly longing to receive the Communion on a particular 
Sunday, but was prevented by illness. On this Sunday, our informant, 
who was in London, and who was unaware of her friend's desire, and 
had never seen the church — 

" Had a vision of her sitting quietly in her place in the little village 
church, waiting to receive the rite. The church was evidently much 
neglected, and the floor and the matting were thickly covered with dust. 
On inquiry, I was assured that such was the condition of the church. 
The phantasm appeared as really present at the spot to which my friend's 
desire had focussed her thoughts." 

But here, it will be seen, the one detail that the narrator 

(who was much given to visualising) would not have been quite 

likely to imagine spontaneously, was the dusty condition of the church. 

Even that is a doubtful exception ; and it is moreover a point which 

would be very likely to get unconsciously worked into the vision after 

the actual state of the case was learnt. The following cases seem to be 

free from these objections. The first shall be another specimen from 

the remarkable series of impressions which have been experienced by 

Mr. J. G. Keulemans (see pp. 126 and 235). 

"November, 1882. 

(56) " One morning, not long ago, while engaged witli some very easy 
work, 1 saw in my mind's eye a little wicker basket, containing five eggs, 
two very clean, of a more than usually elongated oval and of a yellowish liue, 
one very round, plain white, but smudged all over with dirt ; the remaining 
two bore no peculiar marks. I asked myself what tliat insignificant but 
sudden image could mean. 1 never think of similar objects. But that 
basket remained fixed in my mind, and occupied it for some moments. 
About two hours later I went into another room for lunch. I was at once 


struck with the remarkable similarity between the eggs standing in the 
egg-cups on the breakfast table, and those two very long ones I had in my 
imagination previously seen. ' Why do you keep looking at those eggs so 
carefully 1' asked my wife ; and it caused her great astonishment to learn 
from me how many eggs had been sent by her mother half an hour before. 
She then brought up the remaining three ; there was the one with the dirt 
on it, and the basket, the same I had seen. On further inquiry, I found 
that the eggs had been kept together by my mother-in-law, that she had 
placed them m the basket and thought of sending them to me ; and, to use 
her own words,' I did of course think of you at that moment.' She did 
this at 10 in the morning, which (as I know from my regular habits) must 
have been just the time of my impression. " j, G. Keulemans." 

Mrs. Keulemans tells us that she has almost forgotten the incident. 
" All I can say is that my husband looked at some eggs and made the 
remark that he had seen them before. I know he told me my mother had 
sent them." 

Here the very triviality of this incident, as well as the smallness 
and definiteness of the object visualised, makes the resemblance to 
cases of experimental thought-transference specially close.^ 

In the examples which follow, the idea of something less circum- 
scribed than a single object, and more of the nature of a complete 
scene, seems to have been transmitted. I will begin with a case 
where the visualisation, if there was any, was extremely vague. Miss 
M. E. Pritchard, Tan-y-coed, Bangor, (the contributor of case 54 
above,) writes :— "January 30th, 1884. 

(.57) " Two years ago I awoke, one night, with a curious sensation of 
being in a sick room, and of the presence of people who were anxiously 
watching the bedside of some person, who was dangerously ill. It was not 
till some time after that we heard that one of the sisters, then living in 
Florida, had been very ill of a fever, and was at the time of the incident 
in a most critical state. "Maggie E. Pritchard." 

In reply to inquiries, Miss Pritchard adds : — 

" I have never had any other experience of an impression of sickness 
or death. 

" The impression of sickness was not the continuation of a dream, and 
Hardly a distinct waking impression. I woke from a heavy sleep with a 

1 Mr. Keulemans is a trained observer, and has made a careful study of his peculiar 
iiental pictures, the subjects of which range from single objects, as in the above case, to 
omplete scenes. He says: " They are always marked by a strange sensation. There is no 
ittempt on my part to conjure them ui^ — on the contrary, they come quite suddenly and 
unexpectedly, binding -w.y thoughts so fixedly to the subject as to render all external 
afluences imperceptible. Whenever I took the trouble to ascertain whether my 
aipressions corresponded to real events, I found them invariably to do so, even in the 
lost minute details." But his cases naturally differ in their evidential force. He tells us, 
>r instance, that on New Year's Eve, 1881, he had a vivid picture of his family circle in 
olland, but missed from the group his youngest sister, a child of 14, whose absence from 
ome on such an occasion was most improbable. He wrote at once to ask if this sister was 
d ; but the answer was that, contrary to all precedent, she had been away from home, 
'his may plainly have been an accidental coincidence. 


great sense of oppression, which gradually seemed to assume a distinct 
impression. It lasted about half an hour, that is the actual impression, 
but I had a great feeling of uneasiness for several days. I have never had 
any hallucinations or dreams of death." 

The following corroboration is from Miss Pritchard's sister : — 

"February 8th, 1884. 

"I recollect my sister telling me of her feeling of being in a sick room 
with people watching round a bedside. She did not mention it to me till 
the morning (it occurred during the night). It did not make much 
impression on me at the time — not till afterwards, when we heard of 
our sister's dangerous illness. u-^ -q Pritchard " 

The next instance is somewhat more definite. It is from Mr, 
John Hopkins, of 23, King Street, Carmarthen. 

" May 2nd, 1884. 

(58) " One evening, in the early spring of last year (1883), as I was 
retiring to bed, and whilst I was in the full enjoyment of good health and 
active senses — I distinctly saw my mother and my younger sister crying. 
I was here in Carmarthen, and they were away in Monmouthshire, 80 miles 
distant. They distinctly appeared to me to be giving way to grief, and 
I was at once positive that some domestic bereavement had taken place. 
I said to myself, 'I shall hear something of this in the morning.' When 
tlie morning came, the first thing which was handed to me was a letter 
from my father in Monmouthshire, stating that they had, on the day of 
writing, had intelligence that my nephew had just died. The little boy 
was the son of my elder sister, living in North Devon. There was no 
doubt but that my mother and younger sister had both given way to 
grief on the day of my strange illusion, and it was in some mysterious 
manner communicated to my mind — together with a certain presentiment 
tliat I was on the eve of intelligence of a death in the family. I 
thought it most probable, though, that the imaginative faculty added — in 
a purely local manner — the idea of speedy intelligence to the communica- 
tion which the mind received in some way from Monmouthshire. 

" It was the only occurrence of the sort I have ever experienced. 

" John Hopkins." 

In answer to inquiries, Mr. Hopkins writes, on May 15, 1884 : — 

" I, at Carmarthen, had news on the following morning, as I thoroughly 
expected to, of a death — that of a nephew. I had no opportunity of men- 
tioning the circumstance to anyone before the letter came. I am sorry to 
say, too, that I have destroyed the letter. 

" As to the reality of the scene in my mind — speaking as correctly as 
I can at this distance of time from the occurrence (about a year ago) — 
I don't think the affair did produce a picture on my mind more \avid 
than might have been summoned there by closing the eyes and putting 
some strain upon the imagination. It certainly did not make the outward 
eye fancy it saw something, as the Bishop of Carlisle has suggested may be 
the case in some instances. But there was this peculiarity. The scene 
was impressed upon my mind without closing of the eyes or any other 



inducement to absent-mindedness, and without the imagination from myself, 
so far as I can say, going out in that direction. It was also more firmly 
rivetted upon my mind than any passing, or what one may term accidental, 
impression would be. It was fixed there. I could not get rid of it, and 
I felt certain it meant something, which it certainly did. 

" Although the locale was familiar to me, I don't think there had been 
more wanderings of memory to it than to other places I knew, and the 
state of grief which my relatives were in may be said to have been the 
only exceptional feature." 

In conversation with Mr. Hopkins, I learnt that his father, mother, and 
younger sister were the only three relatives at home ; and that his im- 
pression as to the grief of the two latter resulted in apprehension about 
his father — led him, that is, to a wrong guess. On the other hand I am 
sure, from his account, that the impression itself was of a very strong and 
peculiar kind. 

The scene, however, sometimes makes a much more vivid impres- 
sion than this. Here are a couple more cases from the rather con- 
siderable group where the event that befalls the agent is either death 
or a near approach to death by drowning. One example of this sort 
has already occurred (p. 246) ; and their number altogether is suffi- 
cient to suggest that this particular condition on the agent's part is, 
for some unknown reason, a specially favourable one for the generation 
of the telepathic impulse. 

The following account is from Mrs. Paris {nee Griffiths), of 

S3, High Street, Lowestoft. 

"April 30th, 1884. 
(59) " We were a family of eight. Twenty years ago we were 
all at home but one, H. This was by no arrangement, but by 
what seemed a series of coincidences. H. was to join us on 
Wednesday, August 3rd, to leave his situation, and spend a few days 
at home before entering on his new one. On the Sunday previous to 
his coming we had been to church — I for the first time after a protracted 
illness. My sister was too much occupied with her infant niece, and had 
not been with us. We met my sister's friend. Miss J., a Russian lady, 
highly accomplished, and very intelligent. She walked home with us, and 
we insisted on her staying to our early dinner. My sister was delighted 
to have her to recount the precocious charms of our infantile treasure. 
It was a very pleasant morning, 

" I have given these details rather minutely to show that there was 
nothing in the surrounding circumstances to cause depression. My sister 
was in good health, even better than usual. Well, we had gone through 
the first course, the second was being placed on the table, when Miss J. 
asked ' Where is Marianne ? ' — my sister. My mother remarked that she had 
left the room some minutes since, and did not seem well. I immediately 
went out, and after looking all through the house and not finding her, went 
into the garden. There I found her sitting with her head resting on her 
hands, looking into what was called the ' quarry ' — an unused working, 


then and for years before flooded. From wliere she sat she could see the 
water looking so still and black. She was quite unaware of my presence. 
I put my hands on her shoulders, and asked, ' What is the matter ? ' She 
evidently neither felt nor heard me. I then went to her side and shall 
never forget the expression of her face. She looked perfectly paralysed 
with fear and horror. Her eyes seemed rivetted to that water, as if she 
was witnessing an awful scene, and could give no help. ' What is the 
matter, my dear?' She was still insensible to my presence and touch. In 
a few seconds she gave such a cry of suppressed agony and said,' ' Oh, he's 
gone.' She then seemed to become aware of my presence and turned a 
look of agonised entreaty on me, and yet there was a little relief. Presently 
she said, 'Oli, J., do go away and leave me.' I begged her to come in, and 
then as if she could bear it no longer she said, ' Oh, J., he's gone. Oh, 
God, he's gone, my poor dear H.' I begged her not to restrain herself so 
terribly, but to tell me what was wrong. Very slowly, as if it cost her 
unspeakable sufiering, she said, ' There is something terrible taking place.' 
I lightly answered, ' Of course, that is true all the year round. When is 
the moment but that some soul is meeting its Author?' She shivered, and 
after a good deal of persuasion she returned with me into the room — she 
evidently not wishing to excite or trouble me. I thought no more of it. 
Miss J. had gone with her to her room and had insisted on her lying down, 
and induced her to relieve herself by telling her. Miss J., all about it. She 
was so much impressed with what she had heard that she left my sister, 
promising to return after afternoon service. 

"At about 3 o'clock that afternoon, we received the news of the death of 
our dear H. by drowning. He was on his way to church with the other 
members of the choir. Tempted by the delightful weather, and the 
inviting look of the water, several of them proposed a 'dip,' 'just one for 
the last time, H.' He complied, was first in, and had only gone into water 
up to his knees, when he called out that he was drowning. His companions 
were panic-stricken, and declared afterwards that they could not move. 
One at last recovered presence of mind suflicient to shout, and then 
to run the short distance to the church, and called out, ' G., H. is 
drowning, come, quick.' G. rushed out, undressing as he went, and 
throwing his clothes along the road, jumped in, and would undoubtedly 
have saved him, but H. clutched hold of him, and they both sank to rise no 
more, just a few minutes before 2 o'clock, and at the moment my sister 
called out, ' He's gone.' 

" We found her in a deep sleep, looking years older, but quite prepared 
for the news, for when my brother roused her, she said, ' Have they 
come? They have not brought him home yet, have they?' Miss J. 
came, seemingly quite prepared to hear of our sorrow. She told me 
afterwards that my sister had described the scene and the place, although 
she had certainly never been there. There was no precedent for his 
bathing on Sunday, nothing to suggest to her mind the possibility of his 
doing so. 

"Had T been the recipient of this 'warning,' 'presentiment,' 
'revelation,' or whatever it may be called, weakness and consequent 
nervousness might have been urged as a predisposing cause, but it could not 
be urged in my sister's case. She was twenty-seven at the time, and we have 
always been pronounced 'sensible women with no nonsense about them.'" 


In answer to inquiries, Mrs. Paris writes, on May 10, 1884 : — 
" My sister and Miss J. are both dead. ... In answer to your 
next inquiry I have written to my father to ask the questions as to the 
distance, &c. He thinks ' Bo'ness,' where the accident took place, was 
about 13 or 14 miles from Blackball (where the family were then residing). 
I think I said 3 o'clock the news reached us. He puts it a little later. As 
to the character of the water, it was the Firth of Forth ; but I know 
nothing of the place. My father says there was a steep place, caused by 
water running in from an engine in connection with Mr. Wilson's works 
there, and that H. got into that deep pool. The time of afternoon service 
was from 2 till 3.30. Perhaps you know that in the Scotch churches 
there is only a short interval between the services. My brother was nearly 
19. As to there being any special reason why my sister should have had 
the experience rather than myself, there are, to my mind, two. First, she 
was of a much more contemplative cast of mind. She was dreamy, I very 
active. But the second is, to my mind, the most powerful reason in 
tliis instance. You will have observed in all large families the members 
pair off, on the principle of like drawing to like, I suppose. She and H. 
paired off. " Jane Paris." 

The Airdrie Advertiser for Saturday, August 6th, 1864, confirms the 
fact that the accident took place on the afternoon of the previous Sunday. 

In conversation, Mrs. Paris told me of another apparently veridical 
impression which her sister mentioned to her at the time of its occurrence, 
relating to the death of a cousin who was drowned at sea. 

The following case is given on the authority of the late Dr. 
Goodall Jones, of 6, Prince Edwin Street, Liverpool ; and as he 
was not only made cognisant of the percipient's impression immedi- 
ately after its occurrence, but also actually saw the percipient in the 
state of excitement which the impression had produced, and many 
hours before the coincident event had been heard of, his account may 
be taken as on a level with first-hand evidence, and perhaps even 
in this particular instance as preferable to first-hand evidence. Dr. 

Jones wrote to us : — 

"November 28th, 1883. 
(60) " Mrs. Jones, wife of William Jones, a Liverpool pilot, living at 
46, Virgil Street [since removed to 1 5, St. George's Street, Everton], was 
confined on Saturday, February 27th, 1869. On my calling next day, 
Sunday, February 28th, at 3 p.m., her husband met me, saying he was 
just coming for me, his wife was delirious. He said that about half-an- 
hour before, he was reading in her room, when she suddenly woke up from 
a sound sleep, saying that her brother, William Roulands (also a Liverpool 
pilot), was drowning in the river (Mersey). Her husband tried to soothe 
her by telling her that Roulands was on his station outside, and could 
not be in the river at the time. She, however, persisted that she had seen 
him drowning. News arrived in the evening that about the time named, 
2.30 p.m., Roulands was drowned. There was a heavy gale outside ; the 
pilot boat was unable to put a pilot on board an inward-bound ship, and 


had to lead the way in. When in the river, opposite the rock lighthouse, 
another attempt was made, but the small boat upset, and Roulands and 
another pilot were drowned. When Mrs. Jones was informed of his death 
she calmed down, and made a good recovery." 

The following two cases differ from most of the preceding, in that 
the condition of the agent was only slightly abnormal, and the pro- 
bability that the impressions of the percipients were telepathic rests 
entirely on the exactitude of detail in the correspondence. The 
first is from Mr. and Mrs. Wilson, of Wale House, Winding Road, 


" May, 1884. 

(61) " About the year 18.58, on a Sunday afternoon, as I sat with my wife 
by my fireside in Halifax (my brothers Tom and George having gone to 
Africa), in awaking from a nap, I saw my brothers in Portugal ^ in a row 
in the street over a dog which I saw Tom take by the tail, and, with a 
swing round, pitch over a bridge into the water. I told my wife what I 
had seen, and the impression was so strong that I wrote the particulars, 
together with the date, with a pencil on the cupboard door. In about a 
month after, I had a letter from my brothers stating that they had arrived 
safely in Africa, and mentioning that on their way they called at Lisbon, 
and there got into a row through Tom's throwing a dog over a bridge into 
the water, and that they had narrowly escaped getting locked up about it. 
The information contained in the letter showed also that the time of the 
incident corresponded exactly to the time of my vision. 

"John Ambler Wilson." 

" The foregoing statement is quite true. — Sarah Ann Wilson." 

In answer to inquiries, Mr. Wilson says : — 

"March 30th, 1885. 

" I did not know that my brothers were likely to go near Lisbon. I do 
not remember either churches or ships. I was standing on a bridge over a 
river, and all along, so far as I saw, were woodyards with wooden work- 
shops. With regard to tlie letter in which my brother spoke of the acci- 
dent, I never keep letters." 

The following is from a daughter of Mr. Wilson : — 

" Heath Villas, Halifax. 

"April 12th, 1885. 
"I remember, when a child, seeing my father start up, open the cup- 
board door, and write there something which he had just related to my 
mother that he had seen in a vision. And I remember tliat a letter came 
from my uncles, which was said to confirm the truth of the vision. I have 
often heard the particulars referred to by my father since. 

"Annie S. Oakes." 

The next case is much fuller of detail. The name of the narrator, 
Mrs. L., is only withheld from publication because her friends would 

1 It is not meant that the idea of Portugal formed part of Mr. Wilson's impreBsion. 


object to its appearaace. She has had other similar experiences, but 
the following is the only one that she can accurately recall. 

"January, 1885. 

(62) " Some years ago, the writer, when recovering from an illness, had 
a remarkable experience of ' second-sight.' It was thus : — 

" A friend had been invited to dinner, whom the writer was most 
anxious to consult on a subject of grave anxiety. At 7 o'clock the servant 
came to ask, ' If dinner should be served or not, as the guest had not 

"The writer said at once, and without hesitation, 'No, put off the 

dinner till 8 o'clock. Mr. A. will arrive at Station by 7.45 train ; 

send the carriage there to meet him.' 

" The writer's husband, surprised at this announcement, said, ' Why 
did you not tell us this before, and when did Mr. A. let you know cf the 
delay in his arrival % ' 

" The writer then explained that there had been no intimation from 
Mr. A., but that as she had been lying there, on the couch, and 
anxiously hoping to see her guest, she had had a distinct vision of him, at 
a certain place (mentioning the name of the town) ; that she had seen him 
going over a ' House to Let ' ; that, having missed the train and also the 
ferry, he had crossed the river in a small boat and scrambled up the steep 
bank, tripping in doing so, and that he had run across a ploughed field, 

taking up the train at a side station, which would arrive at at a 

quarter to 8 p.m. 

"The writer gave all these particulars without any sort of mental 
effort, and felt surprised herself at the time that they should arise to her 
mind and tongue. 

" Presently Mr. A. arrived full of apologies, and surprised beyond 
measure to find his friend's carriage awaiting him at the station. He then 
went on to explain that he had that morning quite suddenly taken it into 

his head to leave town for , and finding it so fresh and healthy a 

place, he had been tempted to look over some houses to let, hoping to 
.be able to get one for a few weeks in the season ; that he had lost time 
in doing this, and missed both train and ferry ; that he had bribed a 
small boat to row him over ; that in getting up the side bank, he fell, 
which delayed him again, but that he had just contrived to catch the train 
at a siding, by running breathless over a field ; that he had intended to 
telegraph on arriving at the station, but, meeting the carriage there, he 
had felt bound to come on, to explain and apologise, in spite of delay, and 
' morning dress,' &c., &c." 

The following is a letter from Mr. A. to Mrs. L. : — 

"February 16th, 1885. 

" Dear Mrs. L., — Anent that Indian incident, your seeing me, and 
what I was doing at Barrackpore one evening, you yourself being in 
Calcutta at the time. 

"It is now so long ago, 13 years, I think, that I cannot recall all the 
circumstances, but I do remember generally. 

" I left home one morning without the intention of going from Calcutta 
during the day, but I did go from Calcutta to Barrackpore and spent some 
time in lookinsr through the bungalows to let. 


" I remember I crossed in a small boat — not by tlie ferry, and my 
impression is that I did not land at the usual jetty, but, instead, at the 
bank opposite the houses which I wished to see. 

" I missed the train by which I would ordinarily have travelled, and 
consequently arrived in Calcutta considerably later tlian your usual dinner- 

" I cannot remember distinctly that I found any gharry at the Bar- 
rackpore train, Calcutta Station, but you may probably remember whetlier 
you sent the gliarry • but I do remember my astonishment that you had 
put back dinner against my return from Barrackpore by that particular 
train, you having had no previous direct knowledge of my having gone to 
Barrackpore at all. 

" I remember, too, your telling me generally what I had been doing at 
Barrackpore, and how I had missed the earlier train. And on my 
inquiry, ' How on earth do you know these things 1 ' you said, ' I saw 
you.' Expecting me by that train, I can quite understand your having 
sent the carriage for me, although that particular item is not clearly on 
my memory. 

" I can well remember that at the time of the incident you were in a 
very delicate state of health. 

" Do you remember that other occasion in Calcutta, a holiday, when 

Mrs. called, I being out, and on her inquiring for me your informing 

her that I had gone to the bootmakers and the hatters, you having had 
no previous intimation from me of any such intention on my part 1 and 
our astonishment and amusement when I did a little later turn up, a new 
hat in my hand, and fresh from registering an order at the bootmakers ? 

" These have always appeared to me very extraordinary incidents, and 
the first, especially, incapable of explanation in an ordinary way." 

Mrs. L. recollects the other incident referred to, but she is not inclined 
to think it of much importance. 

She adds : — 

"The river crossed was the Hooghly from Serampore to Barrackpore, 
where the house was situated which Mr. A. looked over. The station he 
arrived at was in Calcutta, I think called the South Eastern, but of this 
I am not sure." 

The next account is from a lady who is an active philanthropist, 
and as practical and iinvisionary a person as could be found. She has 
no special interest in our work, and withholds her name on the ground 
that her friends would dislike or despise the subject. This is one of 
the ways in which the present state of thought and feeling often 
prevents the facts from having their legitimate force. 

"May 9th, 1883. 

(63) " It happened one Tuesday last January. I was going to start for 
one of my usual visits to Southampton. In the morning I received a letter 
from a friend saying he was going to hunt that day, and would write next 
day, so that I should get the letter on my return home. In the train, 
being tired, I put down my book and shut my eyes, and presently the 


whole scene suddenly occurred before me — a hunting field and two men 
riding up to jump a low stone wall. My friend's horse rushed at it, could 
not clear it, and blundered on to his head, throwing ofi". his rider, and the 
whole scene vanished. I was wide awake the whole time. My 
friend is a great rider, and there was no reason why such an 
accident should have befallen him. Directly I arrived at South- 
ampton I wrote to him, simply saying I knew he had had 
a fall, and hoped he was not hurt. On my return late on Wednesday 
night, not finding the promised letter, I wrote a few lines, merely saying I 
should expect to hear all about his spill next day, and I mentioned to two 
people that evening on my return what I had seen ; also that Tuesday 
evening, dining with friends, I spoke of what had happened in the train, 
and they all promptly laughed at me. On Thursday morning I received a 
letter from my friend, telling me he had had a fall, riding at a low stone 
wall, that the horse had not been able to clear it, and had blundered on to 
his head, that he was not much hurt, and had later on remounted. He had 
not, when he wrote, received either of my letters, as my Tuesday one only 
arrived in Scotland on Thursday morning, and my Wednesday one on 
Friday. When he received my letters, he only declared I must have been 
asleep. Nothing of the sort ever happened to me before or since. It all 
seemed very natural and did not alarm me. (< jj_ Q B," 

In answer to inquiries, Mrs. B. adds : — 

" My friend, who is a hard-headed Scotchman, declined to say another 
word about it. All I know is that there were two horsemen riding up to 
the same spot." 

In a personal interview, Mrs. B. told the present writer that her vision 
took place about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, and that she had heard from 
her friend that his accident took place " after lunch." She had no idea of 
disaster, and felt sure he was not much hurt. She cannot say whether 
her eyes were open or shut, but is certain that the experience was an 
altogether unique one. 

Very similar to this incident is the following, which seems to 
take us up to the very furthest point where the experience can still 
be described as a mental picture. The percipient herself might have 
been puzzled to say afterwards whether the vision had or had not 
seemed to engage her bodily eye. (Compare the parallel quasi- 
auditory impression above, case 49.) The account is in Sir L.'s 

own words. His reason for withholding his name is Lady L.'s dislike 
of the subject. 

(64) " Some time ago Mr. and Mrs. [now Sir — and Lady] L. were at 
his father's country house at S., where they generally spent the autumn. 
Mrs. L. was not feeling well, and lay on the sofa or bed all the day. 

" About 1 1 o'clock Mr. L. told her he was going to drive in the dog-cart 
to the neighbouring town, about nine miles off". This was not an unusual 
thing, and he left her to go. Some four or five hours afterwards, on his 
return home, he went straight up to her room to see how she was, and 
found her greatly disturbed. She said, ' Oh, I am so glad to see you back ; 


I have had such a horrid fright, a sort of dream, or rather vision, for I was 
not asleep. I thought I saw you run away with ; Vjut it was cjuite absurd, 
for I knew you were in the dog-cart, and I fancied I sain tv)o horses.' Mr. 
L. inquired wlien she saw it, and she said about an liour ago. 

"Now the facts were these : On leaving Mrs. L. about 11 that 
morning, Mr. L.'s father said he would accompany him, and Mr. L. 
accordingly counter-ordered the dog-cart and ordered a phaeton and pair, 
but naturally he did not think of telling Mrs. L. of the change of plan. 
Coming out of the town, Mr. L. was driving, and they were run aivay loith, 
one of the horses having bolted, and for about 200 yards or more it was 
found impossible to stop the horses, when an intervening hill gave them 
the opportunity. The time when this happened, as nearly as possible, 
coincided with the time when Mrs. L. saw wliat she described as a vision, 
not a dream, and the detail as to the two horses is remarkable, because 
Mrs. L. was ignorant of the change of plan." 

In answer to inquiries. Sir — L. adds : — 

"September 15th, 1884. 

" The narrative has often been told by me in my wife's presence, and 
there can be no discrepancy or doubt. It is a true and circumstantial 
account of what happened, about 1866 or 1867, I think." 

We received the next account through the kindness of Mr. J. 
Bradley Dyne, of 2, New Square, Lincoln's Inn. The incident took 
place in his house at Highgate, and the narrator is his sister-in-law. 
The case brings us again to the very verge of actual sensory hallu- 
cination. It seems also to be an extreme instance of a deferred or a 
latent telepathic impression — the death of the agent (allowing for 
longitude) having preceded the percipient's experience by about 10 
hours. This feature does not seem specially surprising, when we 
remember how actual impressions of sense may pass unnoted, and yet 
emerge into consciousness hours afterwards, either in dream or in 
some moment of silence or recneillenient. (See above, pp. 201-2.) 

" 1883. 

(65) " I had known Mr. as a medical man, under whose treat- 
ment I had been for some years, and at whose hands I had experienced great 
kindness. He had ceased to attend me for considerably more than a year 
at the time of his death. I was aware that he had given up practice,^ but 
beyond that I knew nothing of his proceedings, or of the state of his 
health. At the time I last saw him, he appeared particularly well, and even 
made some remark himself as to the amount of vigour and work left in him. 

" On Thursday, the 16th day of December, 1875, I had been for some 
little time on a visit at my brother-in-law's and sister's house near London. 
I was in good health, but from the morning and throughout the day I 
felt unaccountably depressed and out of spirits, which I attributed to the 
gloominess of the weather. A short time after lunch, about 2 o'clock, I 
thought I would go up to the nursery to amuse myself with the children, 
and try to recover my spirits. The attempt failed, and 1 returned to the 


dining-room, where I sat by myself, my sister being engaged elsewhere. 

The thought of Mr. came into my mind, and suddenly, with my eyes 

open, as 1 believe, for I was not feeling sleepy, I seemed to be in a room 
in which a man was lying dead in a small bed. I recognised the face at 

once as that of Mr. , and felt no doubt that he was dead, and not 

asleep only. The room appeared to be bare and without carpet or 
furniture. I cannot say how long the appearance lasted. I did not 
mention the appearance to my sister or brother-in-law at the time. I 
tried to argue with myself that there could be nothing in what I had seen, 

chiefly on the ground that from what I knew of Mr. 's circumstances 

it was most improbable that, if dead, he would be in a room in so bare 
and unfurnished a state. Two days afterwards, on December 18th, I left 
my sister's house for home. About a week after my arrival, another of 

my sisters read out of the daily papers the announcement of Mr. 's 

death, which had taken place abroad, and on December 16th, the day on 
which T had seen the appearance. 

" I have since been informed that Mr. had died in a small village 

hospital in a warm foreign climate, having been suddenly attacked with 
illness whilst on his travels." 

In answer to an inquiry Mr. Dyne says : — 

"My sister-in-law tells me that the occasion which I mentioned to you 
is absolutely the only one on which she has seen any vision of the kind." 

We learn from Mr, 's widow that the room in which he died 

fairly corresponded with the above description, and that the hour of death 
was 3.30 a.m. 

These latter narratives might suggest a sort of incipient clair- 
voyance} But in the present state of our knowledge, it would be 
rash to ascribe any phenomenon to independent clairvoyance, which 
could by any possibility be regarded as telepathic ; for the simple 
reason that the phenomena on record which (if correctly reported) must 
beyond doubt have been due to independent clairvoyance, are 
extremely rare in comparison with those which, if correctly reported, 
can be accounted for by thought-transference. Thus in the last 
example — granting the possibility of deferred impressions — there 
is no difficulty in connecting the idea of the room, and even the 
idea of actual death, with the perceptions and thoughts of the 
dying man. It would be inconvenient, however, to refuse the 
term clairvoyance to cases where telepathic action reaches such a 
pitch that the percipient seems actually to be using the senses of 
some person or persons at the distant scene. And it will perhaps 
suffice to save confusion, if I note at once the difference between 
clairvoyance of this extreme telepathic type (which is still fairly 

1 As regards the appearance of the agent's own figure in the scene, see the remarks on 
some parallel dream-cases, Chap, viii., Part ii., end of § 5. 


within the scope of this book), and any supposed extension, tor which 

no conditioning " agency " can be assigned, of the percipient's own 


Among the cases to be here quoted, none perhaps strains the 

hypothesis of a conditioning " agency " more than the following. It is 

from a Fellow of the College of Physicians, who fears professional 

injury if he were "supposed to defend opinions at variance with 

sreneral scientific belief," and does not therefore allow his name to 

appear. He is candid enough to admit that if every one argued as he 

does, " progress would be impossible." 

"May 20th, 1884. 

(66) "Twenty years ago [abroad] I had a patient, wife of a parson. 
She had a peculiar kind of delirium which did not belong to her disease, 
and perplexed me. The house in which she lived was closed at midnight, 
that is, the outer door had no bell. One night I saw her at 9. When 
I came home I said to my wife, ' I don't understand that case ; I wish 
I could get into the house late.' We went to bed rather early. At 
about 1 o'clock I got up. She said, ' What are you about ; are you not 
well 1 ' I said, ' Perfectly so.' ' Then why get up ? ' ' Because I can get 
into that house.' ' How, if it is shut up 1 ' ' I see the proprietor standing 
under the lamp-post this side of the bridge, with another man.' ' You have 
been dreaming.' ' No, I have been wide awake ; but dreaming or waking, 
I mean to try.' I started with the firm conviction that I should find the 
individual in question. Sure enough there he was under the lamp-post, 
talking to a friend. I asked him if he was going home. (I knew him 
very well.) He said he was, so I told him I was going to see a patient, 
and would accompany him. I was positively ashamed to explain matters ; 
it seemed so absurd that I knew he would not believe me. On arriving 
at the house I said, ' Now I am here, I will drop in and see my patient.' 
On entering the room I found the maid giving her a tumbler of strong 
grog. The case was clear ; it was as I suspected — delirium from drink. 
The next day I delicately spoke to the husband about it. He denied it, 
and in the afternoon I received a note requesting me not to repeat the 
visits. Three weeks ago I was recounting the story and mentioned the 
name. A lady present said : ' That is the name of the clergyman in my 
parish, at B., and his wife is in a lunatic asylum from drink ! ' " 

Tn conversation with the present writer, the narrator explained that 
the vision — though giving an impression of externality and seen, as he 
believes, with open eyes — was not definitely located in space. He had 
never encountered the proprietor on the spot where he saw him, and it 
was not a likely thing that he should be standing talking in the streets at 
so late an hour. 

This is certainly a perplexing incident. But if we regard it as 
more than an accidental coincidence, we can hardly help supposing 
that the connection between the proprietor of the house and the desire 
with which the physician was preoccupied was at any rate one of the 


conditions which enabled the proximity of the former to affect the 
latter ; so that we may still be within the limits of telepathic com- 
munication between mind and mind. 

I had hoped to conclude this chapter with a case showing how 
a special condition of the percipient's mind may open the door (so to 
speak) to a telepathic impression, and also exemplifying the occurrence 
of a series of these vivid mental pictures to a single percipient. On 
the occasions referred to, a deliberate effort on the percipient's part 
seems to have been involved in receiving, or rather in obtaining, a 
true impression of the aspect and surroundings of absent persons ; but 
unless we would assert (which we have no grounds for doing) that the 
continued existence of those persons, and their pre-established relation 
to the percipient, were not necessary conditions for the impression, 
we must still hold them to have been technically the agents. One of 
these agents, however — a medical man — while unable to resist the 
proofs which he has received of this sort of telepathic invasion, has so 
invincible a dread and dislike of the subject that for the present, io 
deference to his wishes, the account is withheld from publication. To 
" believe and tremble " is not a very scientific state of mind, and it is 
one for which we trust that there will be less and less excuse, as 
psychical research is gradually redeemed from supernatural and 
superstitious associations. Meanwhile, we must treat it with in- 
dulgence ; merely noting how the very qualities which have so often 
operated to swell lists of spurious marvels may equally operate to 
hamper the record and recognition of facts. 




I 1. We come next to a class of cases which are characterised not so 
much by the distinctness of the idea as by the strength of the 
emotion produced in the percipient. In some of these the emotion 
has depended on a definite idea, and has been connected with a sense 
of calamity to a particular individual, or a particular household : in 
others it has not had reference to any definite idea, and has seemed 
at the time quite causeless and unreasonable. Sometimes, again, 
the analogy with experimental cases, in the direct reflection of 
experience from mind to mind, is distinctly retained,^ the experience 
of the percipient seeming actually to reproduce that of a relative 
or friend who is in some physical or mental crisis at a distance ; while 
in other cases a peculiar distress on the one side is so strikingly con- 
temporaneous with a unique condition on the other, that we cannot 
refuse to consider the hypothesis of a causal connection. 

From the point of view of evidence, this class of emotional 
impressions clearly requires the most careful treatment. There is all 
the difference between a sensory impression, and even between the 
more distinct " mental pictures " of the last chapter, and a mere mood. 
We have no grounds for assuming that the news (for instance) of a 

1 The emotional class of impressions is, of course, a field peculiarly ill-adapted for 
deliberate experiment. Strong emotion cannot be summoned up at will by an experi- 
menter even in his own mind ; while, if it exists, it probably betrays itself in ways 
beyond his control. Cases are, indeed, alleged where a secret grief or anxiety on a 
mesmeriser's part has been reflected in the demeanour of his "subject." But this would 
not necessarily prove more than that the "stibject" was, so to speak, hypersesthetic to 
slight physical signs of mental disturbance — which would be quite in accordance with the 
one-sided concentration of his mind that is shown in other ways, e.g., in his frequent 
deafness to any other voice than that of his operator. I may quote for what they are worth 
the following observations of Mr. H. S. Thompson (Zoist, v. 257) : " One patient who 
was highly sensitive, and whom I mesmerised for a nervous disorder, could, when awake, 
point out immediate y whatever part of my head was touched by a third person. If I 
mesmerised her when I was in spirits, she was in spirits also ; if I was grave, she was 
grave ; and I never dared mesmerise her when I was suffering from any annoyance. I did 
not find that she often had distinct thoughts corresponding with my own, even when I 
tried to impress her by w\\\ with them. But she has experienced and shown a feeUng 
corresponding with the thoughts I had." 


friend's death will incite a man of sense and honesty to say that he saw, 
heard, felt, or strongly pictured, something unusual at or near the 
time of its occurrence, unless he really did so ; but it is easy to 
suppose that, having chanced to be slightly out of spirits at the time, 
he afterwards seems to remember that he was very much depressed 
indeed, and even filled with a boding of some impending calamity. 
Nay, since a person who is oppressed by gloom and apprehension will 
often embrace in mental glances the small group of persons with 
whom his emotional connection is strongest, he may recall, when one 
of these persons proves actually to have been passing through a crisis 
at the time, that this particular one was present to his mind, and may 
easily glide on into thinking that it was with him that the sense of 
apprehension was specially connected. In these cases, then, it is of 
prime importance that the percipient's impression shall be mentioned 
or otherwise noted by him in an unmistakeable way, before the 
receipt of news as to the supposed agent's condition. And even when 
we have clear proof that the emotion was really of a strongly-marked 
character, it is necessary further to obtain some assurance that such 
moods are not of common occurrence in the percipient's experience. 
Failing this, it is safest to regard any unusual character that may after- 
wards be attributed to the emotion as the result of its being after- 
wards dwelt on in connection with the coincident event. 

It need hardly be added that all cases must be rejected where 
there has been any appreciable cause for anxiety, however unmistake- 
able and unique the impression may be shown to have been. Thus it 
cannot be regarded as usual for a lady who is at a friend's house, and 
intending to remain there for a week or two, to find herself suddenly 
and irrationally impelled, by the certainty of a domestic calamity, 
to pack her boxes and sit waiting for a telegram — which (to borrow 
the phrase of a business-like informant) was shortly delivered " as per 
presentiment." But the surmise which was thus confiraied related 
to a baby grandchild at home ; and though she had not heard that 
it was ailing, those who watch over the health of young children are 
often, of course, in a more or less chronic state of nervousness. 

I 2. I will first quote a case where the emotional impression had a 
certain definiteness of embodiment. The narrator unfortunately does 
not allow the publication of his complete name ; but he impressed 
Professor Sidgwick, who examined him personally, as a sensible and 
trustworthy witness. 


" Edinburgh. 

"December 27th, 1883. 
(67) " In January, 1871, I was living in the West Indies. On the 7th 
of that month I got up witli a strange feeling that there was sometliing 
happening at my old home in Scotland. At 7 a.m. I mentioned to my 
sister-in-law my strange dread, and said that even at that hour what I 
dreaded was taking place. 

" By the next mail I got word that at 1 1 a.m. on the 7th January 
my sister died. The island I lived in was St. Kitts, and the death took 
place in Edinburgh. Please note tlie hours and allow for diilerence in 
time, and you will notice at least a remarkable coincidence. I may add I 
never knew of her illness. 

"Andrew C n." 

The longitude of St. Kitts is about 62*^ — which makes 4 hours and 
a few minutes difference of time. 

In answer to inquiries, Mr. C n adds : — 

"January 8th, 1884. 

" I never at any other times had a feeling in any way resembling the 
particular time I wrote about. 

" It would be very difficult to get the note from my sister-in-law, as 
she now lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and I seldom hear of her. 

" At the time I wrote about I was in perfect health, and in every 
way in comfortable circumstances." 

[We have, of course, repeatedly urged our informant to apply, or to 
allow us to apply, for his sister-in-law's recollection of this incident ; but 
without success.] 

The next case, from our friend the Hon. Mrs. Fox Powys, is still 
more indefinite, and would not be worth quoting but for our own 
well-grounded assurance that the account is free from exaggeration. 

•' Milford Lodge, Godalming. 

"February 16th, 1884. 
(68) "About 3 months ago as I was sitting, quietly thinking, between 
5 and 7 p.m., I experienced a very curious sensation. I can only describe 
it as like a cloud of calamity gradually wrapping me round. It was 
almost a physical feeling, so strong was it ; and I seemed to be certain, in 
some inexplicable way, of disaster to some one of my relations or friends, 
though I could not in the least tix upon anybody in particular, and there 
was no one about whom I was anxious at the time. I do not remember 
ever experiencing such a thing before. I should say it lasted about 
half-an-hour. This happened on a Saturday, and on Monday I got a letter 
from my sister, written on the Saturday evening to go by the post which 
leaves at 7 p.m., in which she told me she had received a telegram, an 
hour or so ago, informing her of the dangerous illness of her brother-in- 
law, at which she was greatly upset. This appeared to be a very probable 
explanation of my extraordinary presentiment, and I wrote and told her 
all about it at once. 

" A. C. PowYS." 

[Mrs. Powys tells us that she mentioned her impression at the time to 
her husband ; but he cannot recall the fact.] 


A single impression of so vague a kind as this cannot, of course, 
go for much. And though it is so far against the hypothesis of acci- 
dental coincidence that the narrator states — and we believe, 
accurately — that the experience was unique, yet this very uniqueness 
involves a certain difficulty. For if she could be once telepathically 
impressed by an agent whose emotional excitement at the time, 
though considerable, was clearly not extreme, we cannot but 
wonder that so remarkable a sensibility should have found no other 
occasion to manifest itself There is more evidential force in the 
occurrence of several such impressions to the same person — provided, 
of course, that they have all corresponded with facts. Such seems to 
have been the experience of Mr. J. D. Harry, whom we do not 
know personally, but who has been described to us by two common 
acquaintances as an acute man of the world. He wrote to us as 
follows, in 1882, from The Palms, St, Julian's, Malta : — 

(69) "I lost my brother in Cornwall, and my uncle in Devonshire. 
Neither of them had been ill more than three days, and no communication 
whatever had taken place with me from the time they were first attacked 
until their deaths ; nevertheless I felt so depressed on each occasion, from 
the time they were taken ill, that I could scarcely perform the duties of 
my ofiice, the peculiar feeling lasting until the announcements in 
each case were made. It was nearly the same feeling of depression 
previous to my mother's death, whose illness was likewise very sudden and 
unknown to me. 

" John D. Harry." 

In answer to the question whether he had ever had similar depressions 
which had not had any correspondence "with reality, Mr. Harry 
replied : — 

" You ask if I ever felt similarly depressed. You have my assurance 
that I never experienced a like feeling, except in the three instances 
named ; indeed, all those who know me well would tell you that in their 
belief I am the last person to become so afiected. During the three or 
four serious illnesses I have undergone, when the hopes of my family and 
friends were despaired of, I was still cheery." 

[Here we have to depend entirely on the narrator's memory ; and the 
case does not conform to the rule that the marked character of the 
experience shall be en evidence before the news is known.] 

In the next example there can no doubt as to the striking 
nature of the percipient's experience ; which, indeed, was so distinctly 
physical in character as to suggest the actual sensory transference 
of which Mrs. Severn's case (p. 188) was our most precise 
example. The narrator is Mrs. Reay, of 99, Holland Road, 


"August 14th, 1884. 

(70) " I will endeavour to write you an account of the incident, related 
for you by my friend, Mr'. E. Moon. His sister was staying with me at 
the time. It was in February, but I don't remember what year-. We were 
sitting chatting over our 5 o'clock tea ; I was perfectly well at the time, 
and much amused witli her conversation. As I had several notes to write 
before dinner, I asked her to leave me alone, or I feared I should not get 
them finished. She did so, and I went to the writing-table and began to 

" All at once a dreadful feeling of illness and faintness came over me, 
and I felt that I was dying. I had no power to get up to ring the bell for 
assistance, but sat with my head in my liands utterly helpless. 

" My maid came into the room for the tea things. I tliought I would 
keep lier witli me, but felt better while she was there, so did not mention 
my illness to her, thinking it had passed away. However, as soon as I 
lost the sound of her footsteps, it all came back upon me worse than ever. 
In vain I tried to get up and ring the bell or call for help ; I could not 
move, and thought I was cer'tainly dying. 

" When the dressing bell rang it roused me again, and I made a gr-eat 
effort to rise and go to my room, which I did ; but when my maid came in 
I was standing by the fire, leaning upon the mantelpiece, trembling all 
over. She at once came to me and asked what was the matter. I said I 
did not know, but that I felt very ill indeed. 

" The dinner-hour had arrived, and my husband had not come home. 
Then, for the first time, it flashed upon my mind that sometlring had happened 
to him when I was taken ill at the writing-table. This was the first time I 
had thought about him, so that it was no anxiety on my part about him that 
had caused my illness. The next half-hour was spent in great suspense ; 
then he arrived home with his messenger with him ; he was almost in 
an unconscious state, and remained so for about 24 hours. When he was 
well enough for me to ask him about his illness, he said he had been very 
well indeed all day, but just as he was preparing to leave his ofiice he 
became suddenly very ill (just the same time that I was taken ill at the 
writing-table), and his messenger had to get a cab and come home with 
him ; he was quite unable to be left by himself. 

" Emily Reay." 

Mr. Reay, Secretary of the London and North- Western Railway, con- 
firms as follows : — 

"September 18th, 1884. 

" I perfectly well recollect, on the evening of my severe and sudderr 
attack of illness, my wife asking me some questions about it, when, after 
hearing what I had to say, she told me that almost at the same instant of 
time (soon after 5 p.m.), when writing, she was seized with a fit of 
trembling and nervous depression, as if she were dying. She went to her 
room and remained there in the same state until the dinner hour-, and as 
I did not arrive by that time she instinctively felt that something had 
happened to me, and was on the point of sending to the ofiice to inquir'e 
when I left, when I was brought home in a cab. At the time of my 
seizure I was writing, and it was with much difliculty that I was enabled 
to finish the letter. " S. Reay." 


In answer to inquiries, Mrs. Reay adds : — 

" 1 never at any other time in my life had the slightest approach to the 
sensations I experienced when the sudden illness came over me, under the 
circumstances mentioned to you. I never in my life fainted, nor have I 
any tendency that way. The feeling which came over me was a dreadful 
trembling, with prostration, and a feeling that I was going to die ; and I 
had no power to rise from the writing-table to ring for assistance. I have 
never had the same feeling since, and never before that time." 

The uniqueness of the experience may be readily accepted as 
•tated, in a case where its physical character was so distinct as this. 
But even in judging of inore doubtful cases, an inference which the 
percipient's description might hardly warrant may sometimes be 
fairly drawn from the permanent effect made on his mind. The 
following account, for instance, is very likely to provoke a smile, and 
is in itself wholly inconclusive ; yet the impression was at any rate 
sufficiently marked to force the reality of sympathetic transferences 
on the mind of a scientific witness, who candidly records it in a book 
largely devoted to the exposure of spurious "psychical" marvels. 
Dr. E. L. Fischer, of WUrzburg, in his Der Sogenannte Lehens- 
Magnetismus oder Hypnotismus (Mainz, 1883), says that as a 
student at the University he enjoyed extremely good spirits, but 
was one morning oppressed by an extraordinary gloom, which his 
companions noticed. 

(71) " During the whole afternoon I remained in this state of dismal 
wretchedness. All at once a telegram arrived from home, informing me 
that my grandmother was taken very ill, and that she was earnestly longing 
for me. There I had the solution of the riddle. Nevertheless from that 
hour my melancholy gradually decreased, and in spite of the telegram it 
completely disappeared in the course of the afternoon. In the evening I 
received a second message, to the efiect that the danger was over. In this 
way the second phenomenon, the rapid decrease of my wretchedness— a 
circumstance which in itself was surprising, inasmuch as the melancholy 
should naturally rather have increased after the receipt of the first news — 
received its explanation. For the afternoon was just the time when the 
change in the patient's condition for the better took place ; and the danger 
to her life once over, her yearning for my presence had decreased ; while 
simultaneously my anxiety was dispelled." 

Dr. Fischer was, I think, wrong in accepting this incident, (and a 
very few more like it), as sufficient evidence for the fac